WALTHAM, Mass. — On Monday, Rajon Rondo pegged his chances of playing Wednesday at 79 percent. By Tuesday, that number had jumped up another four points.
“I just asked him what he wants me to say,” Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said before Tuesday’s practice. “And he said, ‘Tell them I’m 83 percent.’ I said, ‘I’ll just tell them you’re five-sixths of the way there.'”
So, neither Rondo nor his coach was ready to make any promises about the point guard’s status for the Celtics’ regular-season opener against the Brooklyn Nets. Stevens did say, however, that from a medical standpoint, Rondo appears to be fully healed.
“He has one more (scan) after practice (Tuesday), and then they’ll go from there,” Stevens said. “I think it’s more about his comfort level right now. I think (the doctors) feel like he’s progressed well and healed appropriately.”
Rondo has been hesitant to make any prognostications about his return throughout the preseason, and he said Tuesday he won’t make his final decision until shortly before tipoff — after his pregame nap.
“The plan is to see how I feel (Wednesday) maybe around 5 o’clock,” he said. “See if I can give it a go. … If I was ready to go, I’d tell you I was ready to go. I haven’t told you I was ready to go.”
Rondo missed the entirety of the preseason after breaking a bone in his hand in late September. He originally was expected to miss a month or more of the regular season, as well, but has — by all accounts — enjoyed a much quicker recovery.
Ever since an opening-night return for Rondo became a realistic possibility, there has been a natural desire to quantify his chance of playing against the Nets. That’s something Stevens says he tries to avoid.
“I only operate in probably this mindset,” the second-year coach said. “If you can play, you can play. If you can’t, you can’t. I don’t really get into the 100 percent, 85 percent, 83 percent, all that stuff as far as how a person feels or how a doctor goes about it. Now obviously, you have to manage some things within the game, depending on if (players) have a minutes restriction or those types of things, but there won’t be any of that if and when he’s ready to play.”
It sounds like the man making that decision ultimately will be Rondo himself.
“I’ve got the call at the end of the day as far as my comfort level,” he said. “I don’t want to have any second thoughts when I go out there and play.”
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