Rondo talks lockout at Malcolm X Park


Rondo talks lockout at Malcolm X Park

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
ROXBURY Rajon Rondo has always been considered a student of the game.

With the NBA lockout showing no signs of ending anytime soon, Rondo is giving serious thought to just being a student.

Rondo, who left the University of Kentucky after his sophomore season, said hes considering a return to his alma mater to finish up work towards an undergraduate degree.

I got 60 hours right now, Rondo said. I got 40 left.

Rondo was at Malcolm X Park on Tuesday (Glen Davis made an unexpected visit as well) as part of the Bostons Got Wings program, sponsored by Red Bull, in which five parks had courts that were refurbished.

The parks received 500 for every steal Rondo had during the 2010-2011 season. He finished with 153 steals, which netted the parks 76,500.

It definitely means a lot, a kid like myself, growing up in the inner cities, Rondo said. Having a place to play is very big. Anything for kids, Im all with, and for.

Surrounding Rondo at Malcolm X Park were kids -- donning different color t-shirts, shorts and shoes -- taking shots at various courts.

Seeing Rondo on a court surrounded by shot-takers is a sight we may not see anytime soon.

The NBA owners and players remain in a labor stalemate since the owners locked out the players on July 1 when a new collective bargaining agreement could not be reached. Both sides have had a handful of meetings since then, but no meaningful progress has been made towards a new CBA.

And while players have been reluctant to address it, there is a growing concern that this season may be lost completely.

I dont know whats going to happen, Rondo said. I obviously cant speak too much on it. Its quiet right now. So I dont know.

What he does know is the left elbow injury he suffered in the second round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat is continuing to progress well.

I had a check-up today (Tuesday), Rondo said. Its getting there. Its still a little swollen, but other than that, no problem. Ill continue to work on it.

Rondo added that hes able to fully extend the arm now, so right now Im fine. He added, I can play a little bit. Not too much contact. I did three push-ups today. Im starting back to working out.

It remains to be seen if the work Rondo, or any of his Celtics teammates, put in this summer will be in vain if there is no season to be played. If thats indeed the case, or the season is significantly delayed, that would make it more likely that Rondo returns to the University of Kentucky and finish up his schooling.

He's wise enough to know that hes not going to be able to play forever.

Both he and Celtics coach Doc Rivers have joked about Rondo being a head coach one day. Rondo would most likely coach at the college level, which wont happen if he doesnt have his college degree.

Im close, Rondo said.

If only the same could be said about the labor situation between the owners and the players union.

Im ready to get back, lock in and focus, Rondo said.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”