Ainge would be 'shocked' if Rondo ready for opener

Ainge would be 'shocked' if Rondo ready for opener
September 24, 2013, 9:45 am
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MILTON, Mass. — Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said he would be "shocked" if Rajon Rondo returns from a torn right ACL injury to start the season.

Ainge, speaking to the media prior to a charity golf tournament at Wollaston Golf Club that was hosted by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, did say that Rondo would accompany the team for training camp in Newport, R.I. next week.

"He seems to be in a really good place emotionally, mentally," Ainge said. "Now we just have to get the physical part done. He has a ways to go."

Rondo tore his right ACL on Jan. 25 at Atlanta, but the extent of the injury was not determined until two days later -- moments before the Celtics played the Miami Heat.

Surgery to prepare the torn ACL was not performed until the middle of February.

Even with the surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews and Rondo potentially experiencing a quicker-than-usual recovery, that would still put his return to the court most likely sometime in the middle of November.

Boston opens the season at Toronto on Oct. 30.

"I don't think we would ever succumb to the pressure of bringing a player back from an ACL too soon," Ainge said. "We gotta do what's right for him. He's still so young and he's our best player. We can't afford to make any mistakes on judgement when to bring him back."

Added Celtics coach Brad Stevens: "I told him (Rondo) from Day One, 'come back when you're ready.' I think it's really important that he feels really good when he's back ready to play."

Without Rondo, the Celtics' point guard duties will indeed be handled by committee until someone emerges.

Avery Bradley spent time as the C's point guard last season when Rondo suffered his season-ending knee injury, and will once again be looked to play the position some.

Ainge said rookie Phil Pressey and Jordan Crawford may be in the mix as well, although both bring a different skillset to the position.

Rondo, a four-time All-Star, is at his best setting up teammates for easy scores while breaking down defenses.

Pressey is an undrafted rookie who was impressive during summer league, but has to prove himself before anyone can gauge his ability to handle the point guard duties in the NBA.

Crawford is known primarily as a shooting guard, but has drawn some rave reviews from teammates both last season in Boston as well as this summer, on his passing game.

"Very under-rated passer" was how Celtics guard MarShon Brooks described seeing Crawford on a regular basis now that they're teammates.

"I didn't think he was that good a passer coming into training camp," Brooks told CSNNE.com. "He's a pretty good playmaker and he can shoot the ball."
 
Blending the talents of his players into a cohesive style of play will be challenging, especially without Rondo to start the season. 

"There's certainly some things that you may put in and do that may not be the best fit for others, that may be best for him," Stevens said. "But at the same time, we have a lot of versatile guys. You can make small tweaks to that."