Rondo's conditioning is biggest improvement

Rondo's conditioning is biggest improvement
March 21, 2014, 7:30 pm
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(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The first time Rajon Rondo faced the Brooklyn Nets back in January, he was days into his return to the Boston Celtics lineup.

The 6-2 guard has improved in many facets of his game since then.

But there is one that stands out to head coach Brad Stevens more than anything else - his conditioning.

"When we (played Brooklyn) in January, it's night and day from that standpont," Stevens said.

Indeed, Rondo's court time has steadily increased to where it's not unusual for him to log minutes that taper off into the high 30s or early 40s.

"That's probably the biggest growth and that was expected," Stevens said.

When Rondo returned to the Celtics lineup on Jan. 17, it was clear that it would take him some time to get up to speed and even more important, comfortable with doing the things that the four time All-Star was accustomed to.

Every month since his return, Rondo's minutes have steadily increased from 24.3 in January, to 33.1 in February to 37.8 this month.

"And he's getting more fluid in his movements," Stevens added. "I don't think he's 100 percent versus what he was at his highest, highest peak. He's getting there."

And while some have questioned whether Rondo will get back to playing at the level he did pre-injury, Stevens has no doubts he'll get there in time.

"Nothing in our estimation or evaluation says he won't get there," Stevens said. "He's on pace. This is part of coming back."