Rajon Rondo: 'I Might Just Pop Up and Play'

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2014

USA Today

The location remains unclear, but the date of Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo's return seems to be quickly approaching.

Unfortunately, the walking assists machine isn't giving up any of the details just yet. He may or may not include a D-League stint as part of his rehab, which may or may not come with any advanced notice. He told Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:

That’s an idea, definitely. That’s more game-like speed with our schedule, the Celtics, we don’t get a chance to play a lot of pickup, so that might be a possibility. You just never know, I might just pop up and play. You guys won’t get the memo. You just have to catch me on YouTube or something. Each week I’m getting better, so I just want to give it a test when I have a chance.

Would there be a more fitting return for the mercurial point guard than a random YouTube appearance leading the Maine Red Claws?

What exactly are the stat requirements for a D-League assists crown? Could Rondo hit those marks in a single game? At the least, it seems like he'd give it the old college try, right?

Dec 31, 2013; Boston, MA, USA;  Boston Celtics point injured guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles before their game against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Then again, it doesn't sound like this about recording the first quintuple-double in league history. This is Rondo's chance to be a pioneer, to possibly change our view on the D-League forever, via Washburn:

I’ll probably be the first [NBA player] to [use it as rehab], but it doesn’t make a difference. I want to make sure I’m healthy and I handle it the right way. I don’t want my first time to come back out game-like to be the first time with the Celtics. I haven’t had a preseason. I haven’t had a training camp. Right now, this is my training camp.

Really, it makes a lot of sense. Players always talk about how practices can't mimic real game speed, and the jam-packed regular-season schedule doesn't offer much practice time as it is.

It's a true test of his health, physically and mentally. There is no pressure for him to perform, no risks if he's a bit rusty. The competition will be stiff, too, as D-Leaguers could be jumping at the chance to punch their NBA ticket with a strong showing against Rondo.

This is a way for him to take his time, without actually slowing down the process. The Celtics fans would love to see him back in action, but really, there should be no hurry.

"Rondo doesn’t need to rush back into action, considering that the Celtics’ plan is to rebuild and develop young talent more than it is to make a playoff push," NBC Sports' Brett Pollakoff noted.

I wonder if Rondo's BFF, and Celtics head coach, Brad Stevens, feels the same way. The rookie signal-caller has the Celtics (13-19) competing without their hobbled floor general, but adding a transcendent talent to the puzzle would simplify so many things for the sideline prodigy.

But the purpose of this rehab isn't just getting Rondo back on the floor, it's helping to keep him there. If a stop in Maine helps that process, then the Celtics should have no hard time sharing their prized piece with the Red Claws.

I just hope someone lets us know when that transaction goes down.