Rondo cleared for contact; Crawford 'prepared'

Rondo cleared for contact; Crawford 'prepared'
December 14, 2013, 2:00 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — For weeks, Rajon Rondo has been inching closer to a return to the court for the Boston Celtics.

The four-time All-star has cleared a major hurdle in gaining clearance to return to full contact practice.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said on Friday Rondo met with team doctors as well as Dr. James Andrews who performed the surgery to repair his torn right ACL suffered on January 25 at Atlanta.

Surgery to repair the torn ACL was performed a couple weeks later.

"He had a good trip (Friday) as far as getting good news," Stevens said. "He's been cleared, but not 100 percent, until yesterday for practice. But he has done some stuff that he has been cleared for, along the way."

As far as when Rondo will actually play in a game for Boston, Stevens said it's unlikely that he'll see actual game action this month.

"He won't play in games is what I'm told until after the first of the year," Stevens said. "And that's still ... we're talking in big generalities there. I don't know what that means. It could be a month from now. It could be six weeks from now. There's a lot of different variables that have to be met for him to be cleared for games."

In recent weeks, the workload that Rondo has been able to do has steadily increased.

"Today he did the most that he has done (since the injury)," Stevens said.

Rondo's return will have a domino effect throughout the entire Celtics roster.

No player will be more impacted by his return than Jordan Crawford, who has been the team's starting point guard most of this season.

Crawford has appeared in all 25 games this season with 21 starts.

He's averaging a team-best 5.5 assists per game to go with 13.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in 30 minutes a night.

Crawford was recently honored as the Eastern Conference player of the week.

As well as he has played, Crawford fully understands that his playing time will be cut back once Rondo returns to the court.

"I gotta prepare myself for it everyday," Crawford told "Coming off an injury like that, you want to see a player of Rondo's caliber be back, to get back to himself.

Crawford added, "I love my situation and what I'm doing now. But somebody that young who wants to play like he does, you don't want to see them struggle. You want to see them get back to being Rondo. So it's alright with me."

While Rondo returning to full contact practice is certainly a positive for the Celtics, Stevens isn't allowing himself to dwell on it now.

"I haven't thought a ton about it because it really hasn't presented itself and it won't present itself in the very, very near future," Stevens said. "So my focus is on what we can do on Monday (against Minnesota). But certainly you're thinking about how you're going to not only get him into it, ease him into it, but also how you're going to manage everything around that.

Stevens added, "there's a lot of good players that played at a high level. The key is to continue those guys playing really well, and add in another very good player."