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Rondo says he is “87%” and “won’t come back unless I know I’m myself again”

Oct 24, 2013, 11:07 AM EDT

Rajon Rondo AP

There still is no timeline, no date set for Rajon Rondo to return to the Celtics from the ACL injury he suffered last January — yet there are positive signs that time is near. He has been working out on the court daily and said he got fitted recently for a knee brace, which happens right before he is cleared for contact in practice.

Still Rondo refused to play the timeline game with reporters on Wednesday night when the Celtics hosted the Brooklyn Nets for a preseason clash, other than to say he likely will not be ready for the season opener next Wednesday against Toronto, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at

Sounds good, right?

Then in a statement that echoed Derrick Rose from last season, Rondo said he wasn’t just going to race back, as reported by the Boston Globe.

“I’ll know when it’s right,” he said. “Everybody is different, each injury is different… For me, when I come back, I won’t come back unless I know I’m myself again….

“I’ll know when it’s right,” he said. “Everybody is different, each injury is different… For me, when I come back, I won’t come back unless I know I’m myself again.”

Even more Rose-like, he said when he can jump off his right leg and dunk he’ll know he’s ready.

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That said, this is not going to be the same kind of situation. First, Rose’s injury was in April, Rondo in January so we’re talking months of extra rehab. Rondo said he wants to get out there and lead this rebuilding team.

However, like Rose he should not rush this — it’s not about this season (a rebuilding one in Boston), it’s about the next decade of his career. He needs to go slow and get this fully healed, not push back to win a couple extra games in November.

He’ll be back when he’s ready. It just doesn’t feel like that is this far away.

  1. dls612 - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    How sure is he maybe he’s 88% or 89 % how bout this just say you’re 90% it doesn’t sound as awkward as saying you’re 87%

    • phaden27 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      He’s doing it on purpose because he doesn’t want to give a solid return date.
      People harp on this kid for anything I swear.

      • pudgalvin - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        I generally think Rondo’s a tool, but saying your 87% is funny. To those who have taken that number seriously: you’re an idiot.

    • redbaronx - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      @dls612 – I’m with you on that. Percentages are really silly! It’s also much smarter if Rondo would say “I’m feeling good, but I still have a ways to go”. That way everybody doesn’t think you’re afraid to go on the court like Rose.

      I completely respect Rose and Rondo for waiting until they’re ready. Guards have to cut and accelerate a lot, and it’s really important that they’re good to go when dealing with leg injuries.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      But if you say 90% then people think “well he’s close” – which isn’t the impression he’s trying to give. When you say 87% you get the impression that he’s close to being close, which is more like how he feels. So 87% works well here, in my estimation.

      • brutl - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        Oh, the irony

  2. chicitybulls - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Not sure how this is not the same. It doesn’t really have to do with when the injuries occured but more with when he is “cleared to play”. My question is if he is and doesn’t take the court because he doesn’t feel right, is he going to get killed in the media and comment sections on this and other websites/blogs? Time will tell. Maybe people will see that it worked for D.Rose and can admit that they can’t tell when a person should come back from injury (or maybe they wont. Some people are stubborn like that). Or maybe the Celtics wont announce that he has been cleared until he tells them he’s ready to come back. Who knows. I just do see similarities in the situations but how they will be viewed by media and “fans” will most likely be viewed differently. I doubt Rondo will go through the same scrutiny that D.Rose went through.

    • basketballgod87 - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM


    • pudgalvin - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      I’m a firm believer that Rose did the right thing last year, but you’ve got to admit that team Rose handled it pretty poorly, at least from a P.R. standpoint. Rondo should learn what not to do from Reggie and B.J. and be a little more up front about what’s going on.

      • chicitybulls - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        To some. I think it was fine. He always said he’ll be back when he’s ready. He never gave a date. It’s just that “when I’m ready” wasn’t good enough for people because it wasn’t an exact date. I, personally, was fine with it. Media types and non Bulls (and a small minority of Bulls) fans had the issue.

      • redbaronx - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        @pudgalvin – Agreed. People want guys to be tough, and that’s not always in the players best interest after injury. I look at RG3 (my hometown) and his first couple of games back I had nightmares about the kid getting hurt again and having to end his career early. He didn’t look right.

        And there’s even precedent in the NBA for coming back too early. Look at Jayson Williams who was Chicago’s #1 pick years ago. He got into a motorcycle wreck and tried to push his comeback. Or Bobby Hurley.

        History is full of guys trying to be tough. I’d rather a guy be smart so we can see them on the court again, and not have to end careers.

      • casualcommenter - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        “(A small minority of Bulls) fans had the issue.”

        Erm, a lot of Bulls fans were very unhappy about the Rose situation. He was still saying, “I might play” when the Bulls were down 3-2 against the Heat in the playoffs…as if he’d really jump into a physical playoff series in game 6, which was absurd.

        I agree with folks who predict Bulls fans as a whole will completely embrace Rose (especially as he helps the Bulls win a lot of games and make a run at the #1 seed in the East), but to pretend “only a very small minority of Bulls fans was upset” is a dramatic re-writing of recent history.

      • chicitybulls - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        The Bulls were never down 3-2. They lost the series 4-1. That’s first. Second, just because that minority of fans were louder doesn’t mean there were more of them.

        He always said he would come back when he’s ready. If he was ready during the miami series then he would have come back. He wouldn’t sit just because he felt that there was no way they could win the series. For people to question his toughness was/is the absurd thing.

    • casualcommenter - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      I’m not sure how anybody can’t see the obvious differences. Look at expectations for each team.

      The 2013 Celtics without Rondo are a lottery team. They only have 1 really good defensive player in Bradley, and instead of KG anchoring their defense, they have Kris Humphries (a HUGE downgrade). They have a rookie head coach that I really like but is still very unproven/inexperienced, especially compared to Doc Rivers. If Rondo makes an early return, the Celtics are MAYBE a 7th/8th seed who loses in the first round. Trading away Pierce/KG was their way of announcing that they’re a rebuilding team.

      The 2012 Bulls without Rose were a playoff team. They had several good defensive players with Noah, Deng, Gibson, Butler, etc. They had an experienced head coach in Tom Thibodeau. If Rose had made an earlier return, the Bulls still would have gotten to the second round and MIGHT have made it further. I still think they would lose to the Heat with Rose, but they took the Heat to 6 games WITHOUT Rose, so Rose could have swung a game and maybe the series if a key Heat player gets injured in game 7.

      There’s no comparing the situations.

      • chicitybulls - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        I dont get your point. So it’s ok for Rondo to take his time because his team has no realistic expectations for a championship this year but Rose should’ve rushed back (the rest of his career be damned) because they might have had a chance to play miami last year despite being without Noah, Deng and Heinrich for a stretch and not having played all year and not feeling like he could beat or handle double teams??? What kind of short sided, pipe dream, video game logic is that?

    • antistratfordian - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      “Maybe people will see that it worked for D.Rose and can admit that they can’t tell when a person should come back from injury”

      The thing with D.Rose though is that he could’ve come back like this last year. You’re assuming that he couldn’t have, but he could have. He was only paralyzed by fear. He knew he couldn’t keep running from it though – he absolutely had to face his fears this year and – voila! – he found that he was afraid for no reason.

      I’m going to put this crudely, but what you’re effectively doing here is asking for people to be more patient with wusses. “Everybody’s different!” Yeah, I know everybody is different but that doesn’t mean you’re not being soft. I criticize Kobe a lot, but one thing I know I won’t be able to do is to get on him for a paralyzing fear when it comes to a return timetable. Kobe is more in the Adrian Peterson mold – you can’t keep those types of competitors off the playing field for very long.

      • Kurt Helin - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM

        You mock other people’s assumptions then you assume Rose was fearful? Swing and a miss.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        Heh. You cannot attempt a return from an injury like that and not be fearful, Kurt. So I’m not assuming anything about Rose, that he was fearful is fact. His case is unique because he allowed his fear to influence him to the point where it became a very public issue – partially his own doing.

        Rose’s behavior became so bizarre at one point that he actually had Bulls fans criticizing him. Imagine that.

      • Kurt Helin - Oct 29, 2013 at 7:32 AM

        That doesn’t mean Rose was wrong. People get criticized for everything.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        Well it isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about what you value in an athlete. As Phil Jackson said, “This is the NBA: No Boys Allowed. Big boys don’t cry. But if you’re going to do it, do it in the toilet where no one sees you.”

        Sure, you can cry if you want to – there isn’t anything inherently “wrong” with crying in sports either, right? 😉

        So if Kobe can get so much praise for being an iron man then certainly it’s understandable – even completely expected – that Rose would get the same amount of attention in criticism for being the “anti-Kobe” in this regard.

      • chicitybulls - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        You’re nothing but a troll. You say b.s. to try to get a reaction. I can tell you don’t have an athletic bone in your body. You’re nothing but a low budget, fake a55 internet Skip Bayless. You’re a joke.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        I haven’t said anything that was “BS.”

        And you can tell that I don’t have an athletic bone in my body?

        I was named the starting running back for my high school varsity team as a sophomore. Adrian Peterson didn’t even do that. :) I’ve had a 99 yard touchdown run, an 80 yard punt return touchdown, 87 yard reception touchdown, etc etc etc. I could move.

        And I’m not even tall, but I still have a scar on my right tricep from when I scratched it on a backboard that had eroded foam on the bottom. I made my high school varsity basketball team without even trying out. I beat college players in 21 not irregularly.

        I was not Skip “water pistol” Bayless in high school. I got buckets.

  3. redbaronx - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    I’m really glad Rondo is taking his time coming back. Ditto for Rose. They’re fun guys to watch and I’d rather they take their time to come back so they don’t risk career ending injuries, or come back half of their former selves. I was just thinking back to all the NBA guys that pushed a comeback and literally destroyed their career, or came back a shadow of what they could have been with a recurring problem instead of more rest and healing.

    Brandon Roy
    Robert Pack
    Mark Price
    Jayson Williams
    Antonio McDyess
    ….and a lot omre

    I feel real sorry for guys that try to tough things out when they should be making sure they’re listening to their doctors and bodies, and not succumb to pressure from teams, media, or fans.

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