C's coy as Rondo preps for final hurdle

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
2:30
PM ET
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo playfully declined to speak with reporters about Monday's late-night tweet hinting at a return to game action on Friday night, and his coach and teammates likewise were coy on whether Rondo will indeed make his 2013-14 debut later this week.

What Celtics coach Brad Stevens would reveal is that the team has a set of physical activities planned for Rondo on Wednesday that appears to be the final hurdle in determining if he has made enough progress during rehab from ACL surgery to return to the court.

"We’ve got a day planned, some pretty strenuous activity planned [Wednesday] for him," Stevens said. "And then kind of go from there. But I don’t think it’s fair to put a day on it until he goes through everything he needs to go through. But, obviously, hey, we’re nearing that time. No question."

What will Stevens be looking for when Boston's training staff puts Rondo through the workout?

"Looking for his thumb to go up," Stevens said. "That’s his call, along with our trainers and our doctors and everybody else. There is no basketball boxes that need to be checked with him."

Stevens fended off numerous questions about Rondo's tweet and the idea that the team is already preparing for a Friday return. Asked about Rondo's tweet, which read simply, "29,233,380 secs," Stevens kept it light.

"I thought it was how many people go back for Thanksgiving seconds, but he told me I was wrong, so I’m still trying to figure out what it means," Stevens joked.

Rondo's tweet equates to a little more than 338 days, which would be exactly the duration between his ACL surgery on Feb. 13, 2013 and a potential return on Jan. 17, 2014.

"Obviously, he’s a pretty bright guy who shares his thoughts in unique ways," Stevens said. "But we haven't talked about specifics since then. I’ve kind of gathered that he was coming back fairly shortly, so I’m guessing based on everything I can tell it’s not [Wednesday versus the Toronto Raptors]. Obviously, we’re planning for the very short term without him, but hopefully we have him back very soon."

Pressed on if that return could come Friday, Stevens added, "It wouldn’t surprise me."

Stevens fielded nearly five minutes of question on Rondo's return and the impact it could have on the team, but did his best to stress that it hasn't been nearly as big of a topic around his team as it has been with reporters.

"Again, the most I’ve talked about this whole situation is with [the media]," Stevens said. "Because we haven't talked about it. We’ve briefly talked about when [Rondo] could possibly be back, but that’s as far as it’s gotten."

Rondo's teammates also played coy on his potential Friday return. When Jordan Crawford was asked about that timeline, he said, "I have no clue." Jared Sullinger was informed of Rondo's cryptic tweet and offered, "With Rondo, it’s always a mystery. That’s him. That’s his MO. On and off the basketball court, he’s always a mystery."

Added Sullinger: "I don’t have time to [decrypt Rondo's tweet]. I couldn’t think like that. Pretty amazing. That’s one hell of a tweet. It’s a pretty powerful tweet. If he did his math and he used the calculator."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9