Ainge says Rajon Rondo still weeks away from return

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The Boston Celtics may be on top of the Atlantic Division — at 8-12, but still on top of it — that doesn’t mean Rajon Rondo is rushing back to the court following ACL surgery.

In his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub Ainge talked about weeks not days, as transcribed at the Boston Globe.

“I don’t think he’s close,” Ainge said. “I don’t think it’s gonna happen in the next few weeks. We’re not on pins and needles about it. We’re being very cautious with Rondo. He’s still got a little bit of a limp. He needs to get his strength back.”

“He’s just not himself yet, but he’s getting there and he’s pushing himself to get there,” Ainge said. “Listen, we’re going to be very cautious with him and make sure he’s right before he comes back. There’s just a little bit of a limp still, and he’s got to get that strength in his knee back to 100 percent before we’ll let him back out on the court.”

Boston is in no rush for him to return, if anything they want him to take his time. They are thinking about Rondo as a long-term building block (or as a trade piece, if you prefer). They are looking to rebuild and good draft picks in a deep draft can help speed that along.

Rondo has been cleared to do some practicing but he clearly is not near 100 percent yet. Maybe the Celtics will get him back as a Christmas present. Or maybe around New Year’s. Or… whenever he is ready.