The Celtics have started out of the gate better than most people imagined possible, especially without their best player. Rajon Rondo still doesn’t have a return date, but this — from the Boston Celtics Twitter account via an interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston is perhaps the most concrete update we’ve had so far.
Ainge on Rondo: “He’s making great progress. I don’t have a return date for him… I don’t see anything happening this month.”
That’s not really a surprise, and it’s what a lot of people were guessing at the start of the season. Bringing back Rondo early, especially given the brutal November schedule Boston still faces, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The Celtics play just twelve games in December (and just two back-to-backs), which probably means fewer games Rondo would have to sit out when he returned.
Rondo isn’t the only Celtic out with an injury at the moment, however. Sullinger talked to reporters at today’s practice — which, according to Sullinger, was lighter than some might have expected coming off a disappointing loss to Charlotte — and gave an update on his injury status.
On whether he will play tomorrow against Portland:
That’s the goal. I’m planning on going tomorrow night.
It’s a bone bruise. It was tough for me to land confidently. Just trying to get this knee where it needs to be.
Tuesday, I woke up really stiff. It was really stiff and swollen. As the days went on, the soreness and swelling have started to evaporate, so we’ll see.
He was then asked whether he had been worried before the MRI that the bone bruise might have been something more.
I think we just did that for precautionary reasons. We were nervous because, you know a knee, but we just wanted to make sure, before I get cleared to play, there was no cartilage or ligament damage.
Finally, although the bone bruise had nothing to do with his surgery, he responded to some questions about his progress thus far.
I thought people forgot about my surgery. Hardly any one talks about it anymore. Honestly, I’m shocked at how I’m playing now coming off surgery. doing the things I’m doing, I feel pretty good about myself.
Back surgery has been a big help to me…especially being able to move my feet quicker.
He’s not wrong. Frankly, it’s a little amazing that Sullinger’s back has mostly stopped bothering him and that he’s feeling better. Back injuries, as we are seeing with Dwight Howard, tend to hang around for a long time and sometimes never fully heal. If Sullinger feels better this soon after having back surgery, it probably speaks to how limited he was beforehand.
Anyway, Sullinger will probably be quite necessary taking on Portland and their newfound big-man depth in LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson. Whether or not Sullinger’s knee is still sore and limited, it will be good to see him back on the court.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.