Rondo ready to return Friday 'barring setback'

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — Rajon Rondo's rehab continues.

And now it will take place in live NBA games.

The Boston Celtics' point guard, who has not played since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last Jan. 25, is scheduled to return on Friday night. Coach Brad Stevens and general manager Danny Ainge both said Rondo would return for the game against the Los Angeles Lakers "barring any setbacks."

"I don't think we can expect him to be the Game 7 Rajon Rondo tomorrow," Stevens said before practice on Thursday. "This is part of the process to getting back to full-go."

Rondo did not speak with reporters on Thursday, but he worked out with his teammates at the team's practice facility. Stevens said Rondo will probably play 18-20 minutes at first, and Ainge said he would probably be limited to five minutes per quarter.

"He is our starting point guard," Stevens said. "We want to figure out the right minutes for him so he doesn't get too stiff on the bench."

Said Ainge: "And, knowing Rondo, he's going to be complaining about that and probably checking himself back into the game. That's who he is."

Ainge said he wasn't sure what to expect, especially since the ACL injury tends to leave players tentative about making quick moves.

"He hasn't played for a year," Ainge said. "What I've seen is the ACL injury is something that every player has to overcome, coming back mentally, not just physically."

On Wednesday, Rondo scrimmaged at the practice facility for about an hour with the Celtics' NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws; afterward, he took the minor leaguers out to dinner.