While Danny Ainge has probably been incredibly busy, trying to figure out how, and with who, the Celtics will proceed after losing their All-Star point guard for the season. Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald caught up with Ainge yesterday about what the team plans to do in the interim, along with his expectations about Rondo’s return.
Though the recovery from reconstructive knee surgery can vary, depending on the player, Ainge said he expects Rondo to be ready for the start of training camp next season.
Ainge said Rondo should undergo surgery in the next “10 to 14 days.”
CH’s Take: That target date would put Rondo at a pace to fully recover in just 7-8 months depending on the timing of the surgery. It’s quite the optimistic timetable of a return, but as we’ve seen in other sports (hello, Adrian Peterson) it’s becoming less far-fetched these days to return from an ACL injury. While it’s too early to know for sure, my guess is the tear in Rondo’s ACL is not nearly as bad as the one that Derrick Rose suffered during last year’s postseason. Hopefully the recovery time will reflect that. Another example is Kendrick Perkins returning just seven months after tearing his ACL during the 2010 NBA Finals. Anywhere in the 6-12 month range at this point seems reasonable.
In my opinion, Rondo’s recovery timetable is pretty important to the C’s roster planning for this season and next obviously. If Rondo was expected to miss a good portion of next season as well, it would probably be easier for Ainge to dump a guy like Paul Pierce with little hope the team would have the pieces for even a shot at deep playoff run for next year, in addition to this year.
Having a (potentially) healthy Rondo back right away next season, which should allow the point guard to get out the kinks and rust early in the year could make the C’s somewhat relevant still next year if the team’s supporting cast plays to their potential. It’s a stretch to think about what C’s will look like next year if Rondo is back, but an interesting proposition for Ainge to consider in trying to plan his next move.
In the interim though, it appears Danny is content to watch and wait to see how his team’s backcourt can handle life without Rondo.
“I’m not going to bring someone in now who is just going to sit on the bench. We could sign a couple of players to minimum contracts, but that’s all we can do right now. We have to see whether someone becomes available through trade or free agency who can actually crack our rotation.
“Right now I’m looking to give the guys we have a chance to play,” he said. “Then we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.”
Beyond a 10-day contract, I doubt the Celtics bring in anyone for the next few weeks anyway. As Ainge said, the team has four very capable players on his roster in the backcourt, all probably better than anything the C’s could get on the free agent market for the time being. Also remember, any deal beyond a 10-day contract signed now is guaranteed for the remainder of the season, which would limit the team’s trade and cap flexibility moving towards the trade deadline. For these reasons, I expect Ainge to stand pat, for at least the next three weeks, evaluate the team sans Rondo and proceed accordingly from there.