BOSTON — Fans seated courtside may want to forego their drink orders during Friday’s game, unless they want their beverages to end up in their laps.
With Rajon Rondo making his much-anticipated return to game action, the Celtics were making special preparations with their training staff, coach Brad Stevens joked before the game. The fact that Rondo hasn’t played in almost a year, along with the amount of turnover the team has had since Rondo last played, creates the opportunity for a lot of errant passes.
“Our trainers are prepared for four jammed fingers and stitches on the eyes and everything else,” Stevens said. “Fans need to be ready. Everybody around the court needs to have their hands up. We’ve seen a little of that in practice. The good news is, he’s been practicing full-go for at least a month.
“I don’t think our guys will be too surprised, but I think they understand, you’d better be ready.”
Rondo last played Jan. 25, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the his right knee during a double-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He underwent surgery Feb. 13 and has been rehabilitating on schedule, with his Friday return rumored for the better part of the last week.
When Rondo’s name is announced during pregame introductions, Jared Sullinger expects the crowd to erupt with a year’s worth of pent-up cheers.
“I think we’ll feed off him,” Sullinger said. “As he’s going, that’s how we’re going to go. We’re going to take it to another level once he’s out there. It’s going to be fun. I heard he’s starting, too, so I can’t wait to hear the roar when he comes out.”
At least one group of people seemed to be in a lather over Rondo’s return, in Sullinger’s eyes. The young forward looked around the Celtics’ locker room about an hour before the game and chuckled. Every reporter and TV personality in the room appeared to be freshly scrubbed and decked out in their best attire, at least in Sullinger’s opinion.
“The way y’all are dressed, the smiles on y’all’s faces, the way y’all got lotioned up, y’all are more excited than us, I think,” Sullinger said. “The excitement’s on y’all’s faces, not ours.”