Rajon Rondo suffered a fractured hand injury that was originally believed to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks.
The Celtics point guard is optimistic that he may be able to get back sooner, however, and can even be seen getting shots up as his teammates do the same on game nights.
But just because he’s out there doesn’t mean that a return to live game action is anywhere close.
“Rondo has done some non-contact, offensive type work in practice,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game against Toronto. “But just shooting, but no real defensive work yet.”
Stevens said Rondo will not be cleared for contact anytime soon.
“We’ll know more hopefully in 10 days or so, when he’ll get that word,” Stevens said. “He’ll be doing that type of stuff all the way through that time.”
Rondo is famously stubborn, so he may push for a return before the team feels he’s ready. This is a contract year, after all, and he likely wants to prove he’s once again capable of playing at an All-Star level in order to maximize his future earning potential.
Boston, however, may have its own agenda.
Because of his status as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the upcoming season, the Celtics want to make sure Rondo is as healthy as possible before returning, so that the offers they may receive in a potential trade become somewhat reasonable.
The situation between Rondo and the Celtics will remain intriguing until the midseason trade deadline has passed. The discussion about when exactly he’s allowed to return to action is the first of many indicators of how the relationship between player and team is going, so it will be interesting to watch.