There are more details coming out about Rajon Rondo’s return to the basketball court. Brad Stevens has been very adamant and insists that Rondo has no timetable at this point. Now, even Danny Ainge is on board with taking his time in bringing Rondo back into the fold.
He originally had said that Rondo should be back in time for training camp after his surgery in February. Now, Ainge says that he would be shocked if Rondo was able to come back for the Celtics’ season opener against the Toronto Raptors according to ESPN Boston.
Rondo underwent surgery in mid-February to repair a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. While the team initially set an aggressive timeline in hopes of having him ready for the opener against the Toronto Raptors, Ainge hesitated to offer any firm return date and said the team will now take it slow with Rondo.
“We’ve just seen examples of why we shouldn’t give dates of expected return,” said Ainge, likely with a nod toward two recent high-profile ACL rehabs in Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. “We’ll just take it week by week and he’ll continue to get evaluated, but he’s working extremely hard and he wants to play. He’s excited for the new team. I think there was a time when all of [Boston's offseason moves were] happening that he was sort of wondering, ‘Where do I fit in here? What’s our team?’ But I think Rajon is in a very good place right now.”
I can understand the hesitation in rushing Rondo back. Originally, it seemed like Rondo could make it back for camp. His ACL was partially torn and after a miraculous recovery by Adrian Peterson, it seemed like ACLs weren’t as bad as they used to be. While ACL injuries aren’t potentially career ending anymore, they are still nothing to be played with.
We’ve seen examples of players coming back from ACL surgery and starting off slow. Adrian Peterson had a slow start before he exploded, we’re watching Robert Griffin III struggle right now, Iman Shumpert and Ricky Rubio did last year as well. Its best to just wait until Rondo feels like he’s ready to come back. Forcing him back could hurt him and the Celtics.
What the Chicago Bulls did with Derrick Rose was probably the best thing to do. Rose was cleared to play, but he still didn’t feel 100%. Only the player knows how comfortable he is and how he thinks he will perform. Rose obviously thought that there would be an issue if he played and the Bulls did the right thing by sitting him.
They were lucky that they didn’t have to protect him from himself. As a player, sometimes wanting to play can get in the way of your own health. Hopefully the Celtics don’t experience that with Rondo. I love what they’re doing by letting him set his own pace with this–its really a method all teams should take when dealing with long term injury.