Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo confirmed Thursday that a stint with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League is a possibility as he navigates the final stages of his rehab from ACL surgery and said that he'd embrace the idea of being one of the league's first superstars to travel that path.
"I think that’s what [the D-League is] for," Rondo told reporters in Chicago (video HERE) before the Celtics visited the Bulls. "I’d probably be the first guy to do that, 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 [game-like action] to be with the Celtics. I haven't had a preseason. I haven't had a training camp. Right now, this is pretty much my training camp."
Rondo added, "It’s an idea, definitely. That’s more game-like speed. With our schedule, with the Celtics, we don’t get a chance to play a lot of pickup, so [the Red Claws] might be a possibility."
With Rondo preparing to travel out west with the Celtics on a five-game road trip starting Sunday in Oklahoma City, it's unclear when Rondo might join Maine for practice and/or game reps.
"You just never know," said Rondo. "I might pop up and just play. [Reporters] won’t get the memo. You’ll have to catch me on YouTube or something. But I don’t know. It’ll be like an overnight decision."
Rondo said that he's making progress, but that he wants to be confident in his knee when he returns to ensure no setbacks. He is nearing a year removed from when he tore the ACL (Jan. 25), and a little less than 11 months removed from surgery (Feb. 12).
Rondo said he's still working on his conditioning and endurance, but suggested that he's getting "pretty close" to a return. He won't be rushed through the process, however.
"It’s frustrating, it’s rough," said Rondo. "There's a lot of things that you have to go through, but it’s how you handle it. I’ve gone through a lot of adversity, but I’m staying positive."