It's no surprise when a Major League Baseball player gets sent down to the minors to rehab for a few games before returning from an injury.
But in the NBA? That's unheard of.
Perhaps it shouldn't be. While the D-League is certainly no NBA, plenty of NBA players have gone there or come from there. The life may not glamorous, but the competition is still high.
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo may be the first big star to give the rehab thing a shot in the D-League. Rondo is looking to get back on the court as soon as he feels ready, but it's hard for him to really get a feel for his recovery due to the Celtics' lack of practices and bodies available for a full-court scrimmage.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub that it was actually Rondo who brought up the idea of spending some time in Portland with the Red Claws.
"We've been talking to Rajon, and he's just looking for opportunities," Ainge said. "It was funny, about 10 days ago he was looking for the guys in the office to get their gear on and go down and play 5-on-5 with him just because there's not enough practice time. There's been some 5-on-5 practice, but we're not playing a game and going up and down [the court]. We've been playing so many games. So he's anxious to practice and play."
"He had talked about - it was his idea to actually to consider practice with the Maine Red Claws, possibly play with the Maine Red Claws at some point. But that was in discussion, I don't know when he's going to do that but that's probably the next step."
The Red Claws' schedule is not exactly friendly to Rondo's needs right now.
At the beginning of next week, the Red Claws will embark on a five-game trip out West. That means they obviously won't be around Portland practicing. However, the Celtics make a trip out West at the same time the Red Claws do. They are in California on the same days. There are three games in that span that Rondo could - if he and the team wanted to - play for the Claws with not much travel getting in the way.
Ainge did not mention anything about Rondo playing in any road games with the Claws out West.
Maybe Rondo takes a trip up to Portland when the Claws return on Jan. 14th or 15th. The C's will be back on the 12th. The Claws have five days off before a home game vs. Erie on the 18th.
"We'd like to get him a couple real tests and a real good practice," Ainge said. "I know there was some consideration of him going to practice in Maine. Maybe with the weather that's going to be delayed until after the West Coast trip, not sure yet. The dates are still a little fuzzy."
One thing is for sure: Rondo wants to absolutely make sure he's at his best physically and mentally before he puts on the C's uniform.
"I think that Rajon is very sensitive to not being a detriment to his team and coming back and playing without really playing," Ainge said. "I think he wants to get a little bit of the rust off and not hurt his team when he comes back."