The talk surrounding Rajon Rondo‘s return to the Boston Celtics has been largely rumor and speculation, with very few concrete statements made since the point guard resumed practice in December.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday that Rondo will absolutely not be in the lineup when the Toronto Raptors visit Wednesday. Many pegged Friday as Rondo’s target return date earlier in the week, however, and Stevens did not shoot down that notion.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Stevens told reporters, via ESPN.com.
Rondo also hinted that he would return for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, sending a tweet late Monday night that read, “29,233,380 secs.” That adds up to 338 days, eight hours and 23 minutes — the exact amount of time that will have passed from his ACL surgery on Feb. 13, 2013, to tip-off Friday night at TD Garden.
Stevens said Tuesday that he has seen the tweet, but he declined to offer his interpretation of it.
“Obviously, he’s a pretty bright guy who shares his thoughts in unique ways,” he said. “But we haven’t talked about specifics since then. I’ve kinda gathered that he was coming back fairly shortly, so I’m guessing based on everything I can tell it’s not [Wednesday]. Obviously, we’re planning for the very short term without him, but hopefully we have him back very soon.”
Rondo has met all of the team’s criteria to return to game action, Stevens said, and the decision on when to come back is solely up to him.
“Looking for his thumb to go up,” Stevens said. “That’s his call, along with our trainers and our doctors and everybody else. There is no basketball boxes that need to be checked with him.”
The Celtics host the Raptors and Lakers this week before embarking on a three-game road trip.