Rajon Rondo is probably the worst kind of player to order to the bench.

But last night, when the Celtics guard jammed his right pinkie so badly he thought it was broken, an important part of the Celtics picture snapped into focus. Delonte West ran the offense during key parts of the Celtics' comeback from a 15-point hole, and in the process may have saved the game while Rondo was on the bench attempting to get feeling back in his finger.

"If we're winning, I don't mind (sitting)," said Rondo, who didn't return until 6:12 was left in an eventual 89-85 win over the Hornets. "Especially when the guy in my place is feeling it. He's getting confidence. It's going to be big down the stretch, especially in the playoffs.

"I thought as soon as we got D-West, it was a great pickup," said Rondo. "It doesn't matter how long he's been out. Also our guys do a great job of keeping him in shape and getting him ready to play. He accepts the challenge. He's missed a lot of games, but he's a real good player. He's an intelligent person. He's been in (Doc Rivers) system a long time."