In his first public comments since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo told ESPN's Hannah Storm that it's "frustrating" not to be on the floor with his teammates, but he has come to accept the situation.
"I'm in a place now where I am OK with it," Rondo told Storm in a sit-down interview that will air on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. ET on April 18. "I know this is my main focus, getting healthy."
Rondo tore the ACL on Jan. 25 against the Atlanta Hawks. He didn't think the injury was serious at the time.
"I didn't hear a pop. ... I thought I could play through it," he told Storm.
He intended on playing two days later against the Miami Heat, but before that game he detected something was wrong.
"It was shocking, frustrating," he said. "I wanted to play against the Heat that day, Sunday, and I thought I was playing. But maybe 30 minutes on the clock I did my ritual, my routine, I got in the shower and something was telling me this just didn't feel right."
He went to the hospital that day and underwent an MRI on the knee. On his way back to TD Garden, he said he heard on the radio that he might have a torn ACL.
"I was like, 'We just got the results, there's no way possible,'" he said.
He got the news from the team soon after he got back to the Garden. A couple of weeks later, on Feb. 12, he underwent surgery in Florida. Noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure, and Rondo remained in Florida for a while to begin the initial phase of his rehabilitation.
Rondo called his current rehab regimen as "intense" fundamental exercises to rebuild strength in the area of the injury.
"This is a learning process all over again as far as my leg," Rondo said. "It'll be good for me, have a chance to let my body heal and work on things I never worked on my body before."
Training camp will start about seven months after Rondo went under the knife to repair the ACL. The normal recovery time for this kind of injury is nine to 12 months. NFL MVP Adrian Peterson needed less than nine months to return from the injury, but fellow point guard Derrick Rose has still not returned to the Chicago Bulls 11 months after surgery. There was no other structural damage found in Rondo's knee beyond the partial tear, and doctors think that might accelerate his return. Nevertheless, Rondo was hesitant to put a timetable on it.
"When I got out of surgery, for three to four weeks nobody said anything about when I'll be back, or when I'll be able to play. They just wanted me to take it one week at a time and just see how I progress from there," he told Storm. "Everybody's body is different. Everybody plays the game differently. An injury like this varies."
Is there anything that scares Rondo about coming back from the torn ACL?
"Doing it again," he said. "But other than that, no."