|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo should return to game action next month, according to coach Brad Stevens.
Rondo traveled Friday with team physician Dr. Brian McKeon to meet with operating surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who examined Rondo's progress and cleared him to return to full-contact practice activities.
The Celtics threw Rondo into the fire on Saturday, engaging in a spirited 45-minute session despite coming off game action on Friday night.
"[Rondo] had a good trip [Friday], as far as getting good news, and it looks like he's on schedule to be closer, but still probably doesn't look like we're going to see him on the court any time this month," said Stevens. "Hopefully as we get into January, he'll be closer."
Rondo underwent ACL surgery in mid-February, about two weeks after initially tearing the ligament. He's been able to engage in limited-contact activities recently, including games of 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 with teammates, but needed Andrews' clearance to dive back into 5-on-5, full-contact activities.
How did Rondo look in his first full practice back?
"Pretty good," Stevens said with a sly smile.
Celtics teammate Brandon Bass said Rondo "looked good."
"He looked solid," Bass said.
As for how he'll reintegrate Rondo, Stevens said he hasn't considered it too much before this point.
"I haven't thought a ton about it, because it really hasn't presented itself and it still isn't going to present itself in the very, very near future," said Stevens. "My focus is on what we can do on Monday [when the Timberwolves visit TD Garden]. Certainly, you're thinking about how you're going to, not only get him into it, [and] ease him into it, but how you're going to manage everything around that. Because there's a lot of good players that are playing at a high level, and the key is to continue those guys playing really well and add in another very good player."
Stevens hesitated to offer a firm timeline on when Rondo might return to the court.
"He won't play in games, is what I've been told, until after the first of the year," said Stevens. "And that still is, we're talking in big generalities there. I don't know when that means. It could mean a month from now, it could mean six weeks from now. There's a lot of different variables that have to be met for him to be cleared for games."
The Celtics currently sit atop the Atlantic Division with an 11-14 record.