BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday that the team has approached point guard Rajon Rondo about joining the Maine Red Claws of the Development League in order to gain additional conditioning before he returns to NBA game action, but said it's Rondo's call whether to travel that path.
"It’s not really a rehab assignment as much as to get your wind," said Stevens. "It’s going to be his call on those things. We talked about it with him and in our offices. I think he will end up doing that at some point, and I think from a conditioning standpoint, and from a game-simulation standpoint, both in practice -- they’ve got a few more days between games to be able to practice a lot of times -- and maybe even in a game, that would be good for people."
It appears more likely that Rondo would join the Claws on assignment in order to get practice reps than game action, though that's an option. Stevens admitted he's uncertain if Rondo would appear in games.
"No idea if he plays in a game or not, it may just be practice," said Stevens. "That’s all to be determined. And still very much just a talking point more so than a certainty."
The Celtics and Red Claws are a hybrid affiliation in which Boston has control over the basketball operations. The overlap means that the Claws are familiar with a lot what the Celtics run, which could aid Rondo's ability to jump in with the team for a short period.
With Boston embarking on a busy January slate that will limit practice time that Rondo needs, it's likely that Rondo could be assigned solely for practice situations. The New York Knicks did something similar with Amare Stoudemire, who spent time practicing with the Erie BayHawks while rehabbing from knee surgery last year.
The Celtics play 18 games in 30 days starting with Tuesday's visit from the Atlanta Hawks. At no point do they have consecutive days off in January that would allow them to practice fully and, of nine potential practice days, many will be light workouts coming off game action the night before.
The Red Claws, on the other hand, play 13 games in 31 days in January, which includes a busy stretch early in the month. But from Jan. 12-23, the team plays only four games and would seemingly have extended practice time in order to help Rondo condition if he desired to do such.
Rondo said earlier this month that getting into game shape is the biggest remaining hurdle for him as he navigates the final stages of rehab from ACL surgery.
"My endurance is key for me," said Rondo. "I don’t want to come back and not be fully 100 percent as far as my health, and me being in shape as well, because the worst thing is me coming back and not being in shape and have another injury, so I want to make sure I’m in basketball condition."