WALTHAM, Mass. — Rajon Rondo’s absence has dominated headlines all preseason, but there’s still a chance might be good to go for Opening Night.
That’s according to Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who said Monday there’s “a possibility” the point guard could play when the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets next Wednesday in their regular-season opener.
“He had a scan on his hand. He’s progressing great,” Stevens said. “Obviously, he won’t do any contact before the end of the week, but there’s a chance he could be cleared to do some stuff by the end of the week.”
Rondo suffered his injury — breaking his hand in a fall at his home — Sept. 25. Returning for the opener would put his recovery time at just shy of five weeks, shorter than the originally anticipated six-to-eight-week absence.
Don’t go penciling in the point guard on the lineup sheet yet, however. Rondo was sure to emphasize Monday that he’s far from a sure bet to play against the Nets, pointing out that he still does not know how his surgically repaired hand will hold up in contact situations.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I still haven’t had any contact yet, and the opener’s a little over a week away, so I don’t know.
“(The hand) doesn’t bother me at all. When I dribble the ball, when I catch the ball, it doesn’t bother me, but that’s night and day from trying to brace myself from hitting the floor or going into the lane with somebody smacking my hand.”
Marcus Smart and Evan Turner have handled the bulk of the point guard duties with Rondo on the shelf, meaning there naturally should be some period of adjustment whenever Rondo does return to the fold. Celtics forward Jared Sullinger doesn’t see it that way, though, saying that both backup guards have emulated Rondo’s pass-first approach.
“The funny thing is, I don’t think there (will be) an adjustment, because Evan and Marcus have been pass-first point guards when they’re playing at point guard,” Sullinger said. “We’re used to that with Rondo. It won’t be an adjustment at all.”
The Celtics host the Nets in their preseason finale Wednesday night — their second of three straight games against their Atlantic Division rivals.
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