There’s far less of a sense of urgency for Rajon Rondo to return to the Celtics lineup than there was for say, Derrick Rose to try to get back on the court for the Bulls last season.
We may see a similar vibe around the Celtics to the one we saw in Chicago, though, at least in the early part of next season.
There have been different, unofficial timetables set for Rondo’s availability — Celtics GM Danny Ainge was eyeing opening night as recently as July, while Paul Pierce speculated at his introductory press conference with the Nets that we may not see Rondo back in action until December or January.
But the team’s new head coach, Brad Stevens, isn’t getting involved in all that. He’s content to let his star point guard rehab at his own pace, and return when he personally feels the time is right.
“[Rondo] hasn’t put a date on [a return], and we haven’t put a date on it,” Stevens said before Celtics players and staff led a basketball clinic at Holland Elementary School in Dorchester as part of the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s annual community service days. “I told him, whenever he feels best and he’s ready to come back, we’ll support him and we’ll be happy that he’s back. But it hasn’t been a specific date. Literally, I haven’t even asked that question in the past couple of weeks.”
While some of Rondo’s teammates — both past (Paul Pierce) and present (Jared Sullinger) — have hinted that he might not return until December, Stevens has insisted there is no target date at the moment. The team and player seem content to let Rondo rehab and see where he stands as the start of the season nears.
For what it’s worth, Sullinger’s estimate seemed like more of an offhanded remark, and the only real timetable that matters is whatever has been discussed between Rondo and his doctors.
Boston is entering a full-fledged rebuild, so there’s really no hurry for Rondo to make his way back to the lineup, when the amount of games he’ll likely to be able to affect personally in terms of wins and losses is negligible.
My best guess is that Rondo’s rehabilitation from injury will be handled in a similar manner to the way Minnesota handled Kevin Love last season — no timetable … no timetable … and then, seemingly out of nowhere, he’s playing.