WALTHAM, Mass. — You can count head coach Brad Stevens among those happy to see Celtics captain Rajon Rondo make himself at home this summer in Boston.
As the faces of draft-eligible players rolling into the Celtics' practice facility for workouts continues to change, the presence of Rondo has been a constant.
Rondo said earlier this month that he's at the practice facility four or five days a week, continuing to rehab his leg after returning this past season from a torn right ACL injury.
"Physically he looks fantastic," Stevens said of Rondo. "He's been working hard. That sets a great tone for the younger guys that come in; it's really helpful."
The four-time all-star returned to the Celtics lineup to appear in 30 games this past season after suffering a torn right ACL injury at Atlanta in January of 2013.
"I think he's anxious to get back out there," Stevens said. "Get back out there playing."
When Rondo returned to the floor this past season after the injury, he was brought along slowly.
And while there's no question he made steady improvement throughout the season, it was clear to anyone who has watched him play in the past that he wasn't quite himself.
Rondo still had the slick ball-handling skills, with an eye for threading passes through spaces that only Rondo could see.
But there was a clear inability for him to finish around the basket the way he was accustomed to, in large part because he had not regained the strength in his legs he had prior to the torn ACL injury.
"I don't think he ever felt he was truly as good as he could be," Stevens said. "At least ... stringing multiple games together. And that was in large part due to coming back."
Memphis forward/center Zach Randolph suffered a torn MCL and admitted even when he returned, it took some time before he could play at the level he was used to prior to the injury.
"I wasn't right until the next year," Randolph told CSNNE.com. "It's an adjustment. Rondo is going to get back to being Rondo."