If the Boston Celtics are going to trade Rajon Rondo, they need him to prove he’s healthy.
Though the Celtics could theoretically be willing to sell low, NBA teams are typically too risk-averse to trade for a player in Rondo’s condition. He needn’t be the same player he was pre-injury, but he at least must get back to playing regular minutes.
Returning Friday, Rondo took a big step in that direction. In his season debut, he had eight points (4-of-9 shooting), four assists and one turnover in 19 minutes of a loss to the Lakers. Most importantly, he wasn’t too sore after the game.
“I’m alive. I’m walking. I’m well. I feel fine,” the Celtics point guard said Sunday morning before the team’s shootaround at the Amway Center here, leading up to the Celtics’ game against the Magic. “It’s been a while since I played, but I’m fine.”
Rondo’s production slipped slightly in his second game, a loss to the Magic on Sunday. In that one, he had six points (3-of-10 shooting), four assists and three turnovers in 21 minutes.
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It’s too early to nitpick how well Rondo plays. The Celtics are in the fringe of the playoff race, and they can allow Rondo to work through his conditioning issues. That his minutes increased is an encouraging sign, validating his pregame assessment that he felt fine.
Hopefully, Rondo’s playing time will keep trending up. As long he keeps feeling fine after games, there’s no reason it shouldn’t.