BOSTON -- Boston Celtics undrafted rookie point guard Phil Pressey will make his seventh start of the season while Rajon Rondo gets planned rest on the second night of a back-to-back during Wednesday's visit from the New York Knicks.
Pressey will start alongside the rest of Boston's recent starting 5 in Jerryd Bayless, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Kris Humphries. Short on ball-handlers, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he debated starting Chris Johnson or Chris Babb alongside Bayless in the backcourt, but stuck with the typical plan of leaning on Pressey.
"I’ll get Jerryd or Phil out pretty early and rotate those guys most of the rest of the half," said Stevens. "I think, if we have to, Johnson or Babb can handle [ball-handling duties] for a couple of minutes, but that would not be ideal."
Stevens stressed that he doesn't think too much about what the team loses without Rondo on the court.
"This is part of just being on your toes and taking a challenge, for your guys and for your staff," said Stevens. "You focus on who you have and you coach them. That’s what you try to do. You don’t spend any time focusing on who’s not available. I think that’s really the only way to go about it. We’ve got 10 healthy bodies and [the Knicks have] injuries, too. It’s whoever plays best out on the floor that’ll ultimately win, so our goal is to help our 10 guys play the best they can."
Rondo has sat out the second game of five back-to-backs since returning on Jan. 17 and he's often talked with Stevens and the team's training staff about how his body feels the night after games.
"If I was ready, I would play," Rondo said earlier this week. "It’s a combination of things that bother me in the lower part of my body -- my calves, my Achilles and then my knees," said Rondo. "It’s just a part of those three that are affecting me after games that, the next day, I need to rest."
Added Rondo: "I’m still pretty sore when I wake up. My Achilles bothers me the most when I get out of the bed. Throughout the day, it gets better, but I still don’t want to try to overdo it and [then] something else happens because of that."
Is Rondo surprised he's still sore at this stage of his return?
"It’s an NBA season. It’s tough," he said. "I’m up to 34-35 minutes per night now. I’m doing the right procedures. I’m taking the massage. I’m icing after the games. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. It’s just, I have to listen to my body."
Rondo played a season-high 40:45 in Tuesday's loss to the Indiana Pacers, including the entire second half knowing he wouldn't be available for Wednesday's game.