- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo remained coy on a timeline for his return to action but said his right leg is stronger, he has been fitted for a brace that could allow for contact activities soon and he is anxious to be back on the floor with his teammates.
Asked to update his progress in his recovery from a torn right ACL and any potential return timeline after he stepped to the podium, Rondo offered a wry smile and repeated what he said on media day last month: "I'll be returning in the 2013-14 season."
He quickly added, "I'm feeling great, working out every day. I'm able to do more as far as compound workouts, versus me just doing one workout per day. I'm doing more on my leg and I'm able to handle it. It's getting better, getting stronger every day."
Rondo revealed he recently got fitted for his first knee brace and noted, "I don't think contact will be too far from there." Rondo suggested he's waiting to be cleared by Dr. James Andrews before clearing that contact hurdle.
Asked when he hoped to be back on the court, Rondo said, "I hope I can play against the Raptors [on opening night next week], but that's not likely. I'm taking it one week at a time. I know it's getting stronger each week, and whenever I'm able to jump off my right leg and probably dunk, that's when I think I'll be back to play."
If that sounds familiar, it's because that is the same line Chicago's Derrick Rose offered during his rehab from ACL surgery. Bulls fans will be quick to point out that Rose dunked off his right foot last season but still didn't return to the court until the start of this preseason.
Rondo playfully pegged his leg at 87 percent -- "depending on how my day goes," he said -- and said his body will tell him when he's ready to return.
"I'll know when it's right," he said. "Everybody is different; each injury is different. ... For me, when I come back, I won't come back unless I know I'm myself again."
He won't come back at anything less than 100 percent.
"It's going to be hard to tell me to ease into something," Rondo said. "Once I get back out there, I want to go full speed. I don't want any limitations. That's when I'll return, when I'm able to do that."
Asked about his relationship with new coach Brad Stevens, Rondo joked about his growing reading assignments.
"Our relationship is fine; we talk every day. He sends me texts all the time," Rondo said. "He's given me a second book now to read. I haven't read this much since college."
Pressed on what books he has been given, Rondo said, "I can't give you the name of the book right now. My favorite book is called 'Mindset.' I recommend you guys go buy it; it's a great book."
8dEthan Sherwood Strauss