The Boston Celtics currently sit two games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That’s what a 13-24 record gets you in the NBA East this season, not quite there, but still very much in contention. And its with that backdrop of playoff contention that the team, and its fans will be pleased to hear that their best player, and team leader, point guard Rajon Rondo is nearing a return to the hard court.
Rondo hasn’t played at all this season after ACL surgery sidelined him midway through the 2012-13 campaign. He has been practicing hard though, and according to a report from Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports, Rondo is targeting a January 17th return in a game against the rival Los Angeles Lakers.
“I feel like I’m ready now, but I’m not in shape,” Rondo said. “I can go out there and I can give the team 10 minutes. I want to be productive out there. I don’t want to limp or drag behind because of my cardio. That would be hurting the team.”
The 27-year-old is a legitimate NBA All-Star, and the key remaining piece from the Celtics 2008 NBA Championship team. He averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game in 38 games for the Celtics last season. There was talk that Rondo was pushing his way into the conversation for NBA MVP when the fateful injury occurred.
Just how explosive and quick Rondo will be upon his return is anyone’s guess. But Celtics forward Brandon Bass has summed up the feelings of many of his teammates, that it will be good to have the star play maker back in the lineup for a second half playoff push.
“We’re really looking forward to getting him back on the court,” Bass said. “I think he’s huge for the team. He’s a veteran player, he’s been on winning teams, he’s won a championship, and he’s one of those pieces that when you add him to your team he simplifies things. He makes things easier for everybody. On good teams everybody doesn’t have to make all the decisions, Rondo simplifies things like he did for Hall of Famers and like he’ll do for second and third year players. And ninth year players like myself.”
Those who may not want to see Rondo back? A number of Eastern Conference opponents and their fans, as this return should provide an immediate boost to the Celtics lineup.
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