Rondo helping from sidelines, 'working to get back'

Rondo helping from sidelines, 'working to get back'
April 23, 2013, 9:00 pm
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NEW YORK  — As the Boston Celtics battle the New York Knicks, Rajon Rondo is locked in, catching all the nuances of the game as players sprint up and down the floor while he sits.

On the bench.

Watching the action.

That's about all that Rondo, out with a torn right ACL injury suffered in January, can do right now.

And as much as it hurts him to not be a part of his team's postseason quest, it would hurt even more not to be around his teammates right now.

"I just like being around the game, supporting my teammates, give them my insight," Rondo told in an exclusive one-on-one interview. "I'm still part of the team. I wouldn't miss this for anything."

Although Rondo has not been seen too often since his injury suffered at Atlanta on Jan. 25, his impact and presence has been felt inside the C's locker room.

Avery Bradley, the man charged with running much of the offense in Rondo's absence, speaks to the veteran playmaker as often as he can.

"He may not be out there, but Rondo's still a big part of what we do," Bradley told "He's still our leader, even if he's not out there."

Rondo is wise enough to find that perfect balance between encouraging his teammates and giving them tips all the while not stepping on the toes of what the Celtics' coaches are also preaching.

Not surprisingly, Rondo was quick to offer advice to his teammates following their 85-78 Game 1 loss on Saturday.

"I try to tell them to keep it simple," Rondo said. "Don't try to make the home-run pass; make the hockey assist and everything will be fine. There are times when you can make the home-run pass,  but for the most part, in the playoffs you want to be as solid as possible and take care of the ball because each possession is big."

Few Celtics understand this better than Rondo, arguably the C's best player in the postseason the past couple of years.

To watch the games instead of working on ways to excel in them, has not been easy for him.

"It is tough, but I'm in a good place now," Rondo said. "I'm fine with what's happened to me. Other than that, I'm trying to get back as fast as possible."

While the Celtics have said they anticipate Rondo will be back in time for training camp next season, Rondo remains non-committal on when he will resume playing.

"I'm going to take it one day at a time," he said. "I feel great today. But I'm a long ways away from where I want to be. I'm fine with that. I'm just going to keep on working, get healthy."