Celtics’ All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, not one to mince words, didn’t shy away from saying his return from an ACL injury that occurred almost a year ago is imminent.
“I’m getting pretty close,” the Boston floor general said Thursday at the United Center, before his team’s game against the Bulls. “I’m feeling good, feeling better.”
Rondo suffered the injury to his right knee last Jan. 25. The notion that he could have a stint with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, in the near future was recently brought up as a possibility.
“I mean, that’s an idea, definitely. That’s more game-like speed. With our schedule, the Celtics, there’s not a lot of chances to play a lot of pickup, so that might be a possibility,” said Rondo, who noted that he couldn’t dunk off his right leg yet, though that wasn’t necessarily something he did regularly prior to the injury. “I might pop up and play. You guys [the Boston media] won’t get the memo. You’ll just have to catch me. But I don’t know. It’ll be like an overnight decision. Each week, I’m getting better, so I just want to give it a test.”
Rondo went on to say that despite the D-League not being the conventional route for high-profile players rehabilitating injuries, he would be open to the idea.
“I think that’s what it’s for. I’ll probably be the first [marquee] guy to do that. But that doesn’t make a difference. I just want to make sure I’m healthy and handle it the right way. I don’t want my first time to come back out, game-like, to be a setback. I haven’t had a preseason, I haven’t had a training camp. Right now, this is my training camp,” explained the point guard, who joked that “12-minute quarters” would be an appropriate gauge for his return to an NBA game.
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Like Bulls superstar Derrick Rose, Rondo has experienced a range of emotions since the injury, subsequent surgery and extended recovery period. The always-confident playmaker has gained some perspective, from both an individual and team standpoint.
“I’ve had bad days when I didn’t have the surgery. That’s the NBA season. It’s a long season. The main thing for me is I’m not coming back playing 38 minutes a game. I will have an impact on the game, but not like I used to have when I first come back,” Rondo explained. “I’m pretty motivated, regardless of our team’s record. I told myself before the season that I wasn’t going to base it off our record. I’ll base it off how I feel. We could be 2-30 right now, but if I’m able to come back and play, then I’m going to play. I love the game, I’ve been away for a long time and when I feel ready to play, I’m going to play.
“It’s frustrating. It’s rough, but I just pretty much stay positive. A lot of things that you go through, it’s just how you handle it. A lot of adversity, but staying positive, I have a lot of supportive people around me that’s helped me through this time,” he went on to say. “Here, Derrick went through what he went through. We all go through certain things. Unfortunately, he did it again, but not as severe as the ACL.”