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Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Camp Fire: Rondo works OT

By Chris Forsberg



NEWPORT, R.I. -- Rajon Rondo might only be on the court one practice each day at training camp as he navigates the final stages of his rehab from ACL surgery, but getting him off the floor appears no easy task.

As Boston Celtics director of security Phil Lynch was herding the last of Boston's players onto the bus following the morning workout at the Rodgers Recreation Center on the campus of Salve Regina -- whisking veterans (Kris Humphries) and rookies (Phil Pressey) alike away from quote-hungry reporters -- Rondo was still navigating a lengthy post-practice shooting session helmed by assistant coach Ron Adams.

For media members, this was essentially our first glimpse of Rondo in action since April, when he returned to the Garden floor for some light shooting in the initial phase of his rehab after surgery in mid-February. Rondo looked surprisingly sharp running through non-contract offensive drills with his teammates, showing a refined shooting touch (particularly from the perimeter) and moving fluidly much of the time with a small brace visible on his right knee.

Rondo, as he did Tuesday, is expected to sit out the full-contact afternoon session, but will work out individually and was a vocal presence throughout Tuesday's second session.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens hesitated to offer any assessment of how far Rondo has progressed, noting, "I’ve seen him every day, so it’s harder for me to tell than maybe you to tell because you haven’t seen him on the court for a while. He looks good to me. That being said, he still has a ways to go."

Rondo has hinted at December return, but seeing him sprinting around the floor is encouraging sign that he can hit that projection.

Asked if reporters should be surprised by his lengthy post-practice session, Celtics guard Avery Bradley said, "It’s really not [rare]. I know he’s excited and anxious to come back. I’m just excited to see him working out and [the post-practice work] lets me knows he’s close to coming back and being on the court with us."

Added Bradley: "He works on his shot every day. He’s been working hard. Preparing to come back. And we can’t wait to have him."

Read on for more camp kindling after Day 2:

* DAY 2 UPDATE: The Celtics met with the media after Tuesday's second session and had only participated in Wednesday's morning workout before another dose of questions. What did Stevens and his coaches do between that time? "We met as a staff. We ate dinner and we watched the film together and came up with what we thought were the most important things to get better at. It’s probably not too dissimilar from any other team after the first day. We threw the ball all over the gym a little bit and, so, just getting better in every detail is paramount. Being able to single out one or two things right now is not difficult because we’ve got a long way to go in a lot of areas. But I think the way you have to improve is you have to single out a few things and then move forward."

* PRAISE FOR HIS ASSISTANTS: Stevens put a lot of time and thought into constructing his staff this summer, bringing in longtime NBA assistant Adams for his guidance and experience, then seeking familiarity (former Butler assistant Micah Shrewsberry), and a former player (Walter McCarty). Said Stevens, "They’ve been great. I feel bad for Ron Adams. I probably wear him out with questions. And then Jamie [Young] and Jay [Larranaga] being here last year [as part of Doc Rivers' staff], Walter having the experience as a player and an NBA assistant coach in a different situation. I put a lot on Micah and [player development assistant] Ron Nored because they were with me before [at Butler]. Everybody has got their own strengths and role in this right now, but I lean on them all quite a bit."

* ATTENTION TO DETAIL: One of the most repeated lines from players noted how Stevens and his staff have put a great emphasis on attention to detail and being perfectionists when it comes to the fundamentals that make up the start of camp. Said Humphries: "I love the fact that the coaching staff, their attention to detail, we’ve been doing a lot of drills that may seem like, ‘Ahh, why are we doing this?’ But it’s important because there are one or two plays in a game that decide the game, usually at the end. And if you have the fundamental and you're making the right plays, it’s important." Asked what the biggest difference from last season has been, Brandon Bass echoed, "More attention to detail. That’s probably the main thing."

* ROOKIE PRAISE: The Celtics have three first-year players on the roster in Kelly Olynyk, Vitor Faverani, and Phil Pressey. Stevens showered them with some early camp praise. "I thought that the three rookies were really good [Tuesday] for the first NBA practice. Vitor had a good day, Kelly had a good day. Kelly picks things up really quickly. I thought Phil Pressey had as good a day as any guard we had yesterday. There’s a lot of competition for spots as you can imagine with all the discussion right now." One thing we haven't seen yet: Rookie hazing. Olynyk noted he hasn't had to carry any bags, but the veterans have buzzed his room at the hotel a few times to have him fetch food and drinks. "It comes with the territory," said Olynyk.