With Thursday's 2 p.m. trade deadline getting closer, soon it will be time to find out which playoff contenders will try to stand up, which will stand pat and which will stand down.

The Boston Celtics are the most intriguing franchise in this card game. The Celtics' future was uncertain when they were 20-23 and point guard Rajon Rondo was healthy.

Slipping to the No. 8 seed in the East and at a crossroads, many believed the aging and struggling Celtics would blow up their roster, no holds barred.

The situation then became even more precarious when Rondo suffered a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 25, after which Boston had the audacity to win seven straight and eight of nine to stand 28-24 at the All-Star break — just 2 1/2 games out of the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage for the first round.

As a result, Rondo's injury might end up keeping the Celtics together rather than tearing apart the storied franchise.