Rajon Rondo's Return Date Still to Be Decided

Joe FlynnContributor INovember 27, 2013

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 22: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics looks on from the bench during a game against the Indiana Pacers at the TD Garden on November 22, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Injured Boston Celtics point guard Rondo missed Tuesday's practice, but, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald explained, it was not related to a setback in his recovery from a knee injury that has kept him out since January.

Rajon Rondo, a fixture for every team moment this season, from practices to games, missed yesterday’s practice to honor a doctor’s appointment as he continues to recover from ACL surgery.

According to a source, the Celtics point guard will also meet with his knee surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, somewhere between Dec. 7-10 in Pensacola, Fla. Rondo still needs clearance to take part in full practices.

Dr. Andrews performed surgery to repair a partial tear in Rondo's ACL last February, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com, and at the time, the Celtics and Rondo hoped that he would be ready for the start of training camp.

The Celtics weren't expected to compete this season after trading away Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry in the offseason, and they have wisely played it safe with Rondo's rehab.

Assuming Rondo gets good news from Dr. Andrews, how much longer must Celtics fans wait before they see him on the court in regular-season action?

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has not set a hard date, according to Murphy:

"He’s been playing a little bit of one-on-one before games, but I haven’t seen a lot that would say he’s close to ready. I haven’t seen a timeline, or heard about anything in the near future."

But GM Danny Ainge has said that Rondo's return could come a few weeks after being cleared for full-contact practice, according to Jay King of MassLive.com:

"That’s the next stage, it's 5-on-5, a whole practice, and then it’ll probably be a week, two weeks after he starts that."

Rondo has been the subject of rampant trade speculation in the press, despite the fact that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has denied the trade rumors.

If the Celtics are planning to build around Rondo, then they need him on the court. If the Celtics are planning to trade Rondo, then they need him on the court. Either way, Rondo's health is key to Boston's future.