Rondo and Celtics unhappy he's on the clock, but . . .

Rondo and Celtics unhappy he's on the clock, but . . .
January 19, 2014, 2:15 pm
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Danny Ainge understands the value in limiting Rajon Rondo's minutes now that he's back to playing games after suffering a torn right ACL injury in January of last year.

That doesn't mean Ainge has to like it.

"My experience as a player in the NBA and as a coach in the NBA [is that] every game is different and your body's different with travel and practice and everything else," Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told "I just think it's a fancy way for doctors to say, 'Hey, don't wear him out.' I personally don't like it."

Rondo isn't a huge fan of playing no more than 20 minutes a game, but he, too, understands why things have to be like this for now.

"I knew going into it, it would be 20 minutes," Rondo said. "It's the first time in my career where I've had limitations. That's part of it. It won't last forever; it's temporary."

Still, that doesn't make it any easier for him or the Celtics, who are likely to keep Rondo's minutes to 20 minutes or less for at least the remainder of this week.

As far as how Rondo's minutes will be spliced up, that's definitely a work in progress. So far, the Celtics have limited him to about five minutes per quarter.

That involves him starting the first and third quarters, and coming off the bench in the second.

Things get interesting when he leaves the game in the third, and doesn't return until the final few minutes of the game.

In Boston's 107-104 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.

"It's important that he's playing at the end like he did [against the Lakers]," said coach Brad Stevens. "That's part of getting back into the groove of things."

But finding that groove is much tougher when his playing time comes in short bursts every quarter and he spends the second half of the third quarter and the first half of the fourth on the bench.

"It's a long time to sit," Stevens admitted. "'But there's nothing we can do about that."

Boston may look to tweak how Rondo's minutes are divided, but there are no indications yet that he will have his playing time extended.

That seems unlikely to happen this week, especially with Rondo still working on improving his basketball conditioning.

Not surprisingly, Rondo is itching to getting back and start playing his usual minutes.

"I've been taking it out on cards and other games, the frustration, on every game I play," Rondo said. "But basketball is what I love to do. It's what I've done my entire life. I'm very blessed and fortunate to do it again."