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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Updated: February 27, 9:51 AM ET
Celtics move past Rondo's absence

By Chris Forsberg
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he's talked with point guard Rajon Rondo about the player's decision to not accompany the team to Sacramento last week, but said the team is handling the matter internally and Stevens stressed his goal is to simply move forward.

With the Celtics playing the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday, Rondo was not scheduled to play against the Kings as he eases his way back from ACL surgery. But rather than fly with the team, he remained in Los Angeles where the Boston Herald reported that he celebrated his 28th birthday with family and friends.

Rondo, who Stevens said informed of his decision to stay behind before the team departed, rejoined the Celtics in Utah and played in Monday's game against the Jazz.

"We've sat down and talked. We did that Monday," said Stevens. "In my mind, I'm moving forward. Then when [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] gets back in town, they can meet and go from there."

Ainge departed on a scouting trip before the team returned from a winless four-game road trip out west. He's expected to chat with Rondo about his Sacramento absence upon his return.

Stevens was asked if he thought Rondo should have accompanied the team to Sacramento.

"I think the biggest thing right now is for me to move forward and for us to move forward from that," said Stevens. "Obviously, it's something that is a great question to ask, something that I've certainly spent a lot of time thinking about. But at the end of the day, I've passed that point."

For his part, Rondo downplayed the incident after Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks, suggesting it was being overblown in the media.

"I haven't really read much about it. I heard a lot of comments," said Rondo. "Nobody knows the story, so [the media can] keep making up every story you guys possibly can."

So what is the story?

"It's my business," said Rondo. "It's my choice."

Veteran Gerald Wallace said he had no problem with Rondo not accompanying the team knowing that he would not play in the second game of a back-to-back.

Rondo returned from a yearlong absence last month and has played in 13 games. He's sat out the second night of four back-to-backs and did not accompany the team to Milwaukee in one instance before the All-Star break because it was sandwiched by two home games.

The Celtics named Rondo team captain upon his return to game action last month. His name bubbled in trade rumors before last week's deadline, something he admitted was "annoying."

Rondo will enter the final year of his contract next season and while he's open to a long-term future in Boston, he's also expressed a desire to test unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2015.