Despite recent reports that Rajon Rondo could be cleared for action within a couple weeks, Danny Ainge took a different stance today on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Toucher & Rich. Ainge gave a few candid answers, remarking that although Rondo has been making progress in his rehab, there’s a long way to go for him, making his return this month doubtful now.
On Rondo’s status: “I don’t think he’s close, meaning, I don’t think it’s going to happen the next few weeks. We’re not on pins and needles about it. We’re being very cautious with Rondo. I think he’s still got a little bit of a limp, his strength is not quite there, but he is making progress. We’re not close.”
On how Rondo’s progressing in practice: “He was in a 2-on-2 game and was really competing and having run. He was playing with (Phil) Pressey and Courney Lee and MarShon Brooks, and the four of them were having a very competitive battle,” said Ainge. “Rondo didn’t win one of the games and he was very upset. He was trying, but he’s just not himself yet.”
On his condition: “He’s getting there, and he’s pushing himself to get there. But he’s not there yet,” said Ainge. “We’re going to be very cautious with him and make sure he’s right before he comes back. There’s just a little bit of a limp still, and he’s got to get that strength in his knee back to 100 percent before we’ll let him back out on the court.”
CH’s Take: This team has had to fight hard most nights this season and if they want to continue to stay above water in the Eastern Conference, they’ll have to do so without Rondo for the at least the next month it looks like. While I have no doubt the team wants to be as cautious as possible to protect their franchise star, the crowded batch of ineffective teams in the Eastern Conference leaves the C’s as a team that probably doesn’t want their best player back just yet.
Rondo will return, likely sometime in January 2014, however by that point, some trades of other veterans on the roster may be in motion. Ainge knows he needs those guys to get playing time now in order to get any true value for them in a deal, so that’s just another reason to make sure Rondo is 110 percent for making his return to the lineup.
For now, the wait and the Jordan Crawford show continues, and that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
You can check out the full interview by Toucher & Rich with Ainge on CBSBostonSports.com.