Rondo improving, unlikely for start of year

Rondo improving, unlikely for start of year
September 13, 2013, 7:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

DORCHESTER, Mass. — There's still no timetable as to when Rajon Rondo will return to the floor for the Boston Celtics.

But it's clear that the 6-foot-1 point guard's health is trending in the right direction.

The four-time all-star was in town last week and did some work on the floor with his new head coach Brad Stevens.

"He's obviously limited in what he can do on the court," Stevens said. "But he's a worker. That was one thing that was very noticeable."

Rondo suffered a torn right ACL injury at Atlanta on Jan. 25, but the injury was not determined until a couple days later when a routine MRI showed the tear and thus put an end to his season.

Under the watchful of famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Rondo's knee was surgically repaired on Feb. 15.

Shortly after Rondo's injury, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stated that Rondo would be back for the start of the season.

While there hasn't been a delay in his recovery, Rondo's timetable looks more and more like he will miss all of the preseason as well as some regular season games.

Stevens said no timetable has been set for Rondo's return, adding that he had not inquired about Rondo's return in the past couple of weeks.

During their conversations, Stevens said he got a sense that Rondo is eager to return to the floor as the C's leader during this transition period.

"He's excited about a new season, a new situation," Stevens said. "He seems to be excited. Every time we've talked, it's been a really engaging conversation."

Even though there's little he can do at this point basketball-wise, there was no mistaking his presence had an impact on the players at the practice facility lsat week.

"His work ethic is very good and it impacts the other guys in the gym," Stevens said. "We spent a lot of time together. He was great."

But Stevens knows there's a pretty good chance that he won't have Rondo available early in the season, forcing him to begin the season with two game plans - one with Rondo and one without him.

"That's something that you have to balance," Stevens said. "You are going to introduce some things that may be best for him Oct. 7 in our first exhibition game, and he may not be available. So you're gonna have to figure out where you go from there and how to best fit pieces into those spots.

Stevens added, "but we have a lot of versatile guys. I think we'll be able to, when he's not playing, do things conducive to the skill-sets of others. And when he's playing, incorporate him into it easily."