While making an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, general manager Danny Ainge suggested the point guard would be ready to go at some point in December, according to ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg.
Danny Ainge on 98.5 suggests December return for Rajon Rondo.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) September 24, 2013
Rondo is currently rehabbing a torn ACL that he suffered last January. Previously, Ainge indicated Rondo could return for opening night. His latest inkling, however, conforms to various other notions that Rondo's recovery is going to take time.
Ainge himself now says he would be "shocked" if Rondo were ready to start the season, per CSN's A. Sherrod Blakely.
"I would be shocked." -#celtics Danny Ainge on rondo ready to start season.— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) September 24, 2013
He also said Rondo still has a "ways to go," according to WEEI's Ben Rohrbach.
Ainge on Rondo: "I've been in constant contact with him. ... He's got a ways to go." No timeline.— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) September 24, 2013
December has been a (semi-)popular target date thus far. Teammate Jared Sullinger predicted Rondo would be ready by then, and upon being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Paul Pierce intimated that the point man wouldn't take the court until January.
The uncertainty involved in establishing an actual timetable is nothing new. Knee injuries are fickle beings. Anyone who has followed the life and times of Andrew Bynum and Derrick Rose the past two years understands how quickly things can change.
Ainge's current prognosis isn't set in stone either. Things could change yet again. Rondo could return closer to January, or maybe later.
Further complicating matters is the precarious situation the Celtics find themselves in. After shipping out Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers, they're not expected to contend for a playoff spot.
There's no use rushing their best player back if they're lottery-bound. Ainge has already made it clear the Celtics won't fall into that trap.
Danny Ainge: "We won't succumb to the pressures of bringing a player back (from an ACL injury) too early." Says Rondo will be week-to-week.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 24, 2013
And why would they? There should be no sense of urgency if Rondo is truly the future of this team. Were the Celtics trying to unload him, then there'd be pressure to bring him back well before the trade deadline. But recent events don't suggest Boston intends to move him.
MetroWest Daily News' Scott Souza notes that Ainge admits there was a time when Rondo's future with the team seemed uncertain, but the point guard appears to be in a better place now.
#Celtics Danny Ainge: was time when all this happening Rajon Rondo was wondering 'Where do I fit in here' but in much better place now.— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) September 24, 2013
Armed with the knowledge that the Celtics see Rondo as more than glorified trade fodder, we know he won't return sooner than he should.
Not that we really know when he'll be ready to take the floor anyway. Though Ainge says December, we know better than to hold him to it.