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Celtics GM Ainge eyes opening night return for Rajon Rondo

Jul 21, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Rajon Rondo AP

Rajon Rondo is the last bit of star power remaining in the Celtics locker room, after the team decided to enter a full-fledged rebuild by trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets.

Rondo is not healthy, however, after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL injury he suffered in late January of last season.

There should be absolutely no rush for Rondo to return, both for his personal overall health as a player as well as the fact that a team like Boston, which isn’t expected to go anywhere next year, has little need for his services.

Pierce speculated at his introductory press conference in Brooklyn that Rondo may not be ready until December or January, but Celtics GM Danny Ainge is eyeing a return for his All-Star point guard much sooner than that.

From Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:

Ainge did admit that the team might have to take it slow with Rondo during training camp starting in late September, but said being ready for opening night in late October was a reasonable goal.

That’s still an aggressive timeline considering Rondo had surgery in February and would be little more than eight months removed from surgery for that partially torn ACL by opening night.

Pierce and Garnett hinted that they have suggested to Rondo to take it slow, maybe noting that there’s little rush to get back for a team in transition. But after Rondo had to sit out the final three months of the 2012-13 season, it’s going to be hard to keep him pinned down.

The last thing the Celtics need is another situation like the one the Bulls went through with Derrick Rose last season, where hope was constantly dangled in front of the fan base that their best player would eventually return, when in fact that day still has yet to come.

We’re a long way from that in Boston, obviously, as even the most conservative timetable would say that Rondo is expected back sometime before the All-Star break.

But it might be best not to make any promises here where Rondo’s rehabilitation is concerned, and simply let the player himself determine when exactly the best time will be for his eventual return to basketball.

[via Eye on Basketball]

  1. pukpokito - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I’m with KG and PP on this one. Rajon should take his time.The team is in transition.Rajin needs to help…..himself by taking his time to regain his health.No rush….One step backward. 2 steps forward.

    • pukpokito - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Rajon I mean.

    • 1historian - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Agreed – take your time. They’re not going anywhere this season, but then we’re getting close to the definition of tanking and …..

      There is always the possibility of trading him once he has proven he’s healthy. Ainge traded Pierce and Garnett let Doc go (total of 4 #picks) so he’s shown he can be as ruthless as anyone when the time comes.

      This will be interesting to watch play out.

      • 1historian - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        They’ve got a good, young nucleus in Boston and with a little bit of luck and a few more smart moves by Danny they’ll be back quicker than anyone expects.

        I wonder how Rondo can get along with Lebron?

      • sk209 - Jul 21, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        “There is always the possibility of trading him once he has proven he’s healthy. Ainge traded Pierce and Garnett let Doc go (total of 4 #picks) so he’s shown he can be as ruthless as anyone when the time comes.””

        you’re retarded sir. Ainge made a good move trading PP and KG, they’re at the end of their career and need to rebuild, how long do you think they will last? Just because the celtics traded kg and pp doesnt mean they’re ruthless enough to trade rajon rondo. They’re trying to rebuild around rondo not trade him. Celtics would’ve had to pay PP 15m and at this point of his career he’s not worth that much money.

      • sk209 - Jul 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM

        doc rivers wanted out of boston mainly cause of rondo. they started fighting cause rondo dropped the F bomb on doc rivers during a team meeting, the team had to break up the fight

    • daddyghi - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:33 AM

      Ainge is just trying to sell opening night tickets. He’ll have Rondo resting for a long time, alright.

  2. bigwii - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    They need him to show he’s healthy so they know what they have if they decide to keep him or trade him. I hope they keep him that way they will have him, Green, Sully, Olynyk, and whoever they decide to bring in with that 10 million trade exception. They will only have one bad year then they’re right back in the playoffs.

  3. maddogg911 - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Who cares!! Rando is a clown who can’t get along with his teammates. Take the year off

    • money2long - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      the celtics for one

  4. scalfor3 - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Celtics fan scalfor3 eyes January/February return for Rondo, after the C’s rip off a 7-34 start. Get a stud in the lottery.

  5. asublimeday - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    The Bulls manipulated the situation in the interest of ticket sales and Rose was more than happy to oblige because he’s an attention whore.

    This is coming from a diehard, lifelong Bulls fan. Just calling a spade a spade.

  6. patsbruin1021 - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Rondo wants to play then play the lottery is a joke and the C’s have been burned twice by those loto balls so see what him and green are made of. They can always be trade peices

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 21, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      Thank you. The lottery cannot be counted on.

    • mrwhiteshadez - Jul 22, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      Good Lord….this might be the worst comment I’ve ever seen.

  7. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    this smells like ainge is just trying to rustle the bushes for more interest in rondo. makes little sense to rush him back, and putting pressure on him to start for a rebuilding squad is foolish. i’m calling BS.

  8. tannethrill - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    The Celts won’t get full value in a trade until Rondo proves to be healthy.

  9. j0esixpack - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    This strikes me as a bit of posturing by Ainge, perhaps to appease some season ticket holders.  

    If he truly wants to build on Rondo he’ll let him sit the full season if need be.  

    If he wants to trade Rondo he’ll sit him but let him play leading up to the trade deadline.

    But there is nothing to be gained by pushing Rondo to be back for the opener. The 2014 draft may be deep but Ainge still wants a high pick no matter what he says now.

  10. dezglobal - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Until he gets traded.

  11. 1historian - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Whatever Ainge said in July will soon be forgotten and he knows it. And he has no need to appease season ticket holders – none at all. Every Celts fan knows that the upcoming season is going to be a toughie but we trust DA to get our guys back where they belong asap. Keep RR out until Jan 1 and then we’ll see what we’ve got.

    I don’t think Brooklyn will do so well next year, putting all their hopes on a rookie coach and two guys who are almost over the hill, not to mention a loudmouthed rooskie sitting there shooting his mouth off so everybody can notice him. This too will be good because the Celts have THEIR #1. Add that to an almost certain lottery position and I can see a BIG trade coming of choices in next year’s LOADED draft if the Celts’ lottery number isn’t high enough, in turn making the team attractive to FAs, of whom there are gonna be a bunch of good ones next year.

    Meanwhile a young team with a young coach is learning the hard way, aka the best way. And every game they play in the Garden they’ll look up at those banners and those retired numbers and if they don’t get a jolt when they look at them – they sure as hell should.

    Assuming RR fully recovers I think the question of whether or not he stays there will be in large measure up to him – be a PITA (figure it out) and you’re gone. Act like a leader and you’ll stay.

  12. somekat - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:25 AM

    Great news as a sixers fan. If Rondo plays the first 25 games (assuming they are just trying to prove he’s healthy and move him), they’ll probably win as many in those 25 as the sixers will all season. Just one more team with no realistic shot at having more ping pong balls than the sixers, in a draft where getting one of the top 2 picks could be huge for the franchise

  13. drago2012 - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Eastern conference is getting tougher by the minute!! Celtics will be the door Matt for the next 5 years. Rondo will not help them one single bit!! All the teams in the East improved except the Celtics. Well at least the BULLS will have 6 easy wins and get a chance to rest their starters as well.

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