Posted December 15, 2013

Celtics’ Rajon Rondo (knee) makes return to practice

Ben Golliver, Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo
(Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

Rajon Rondo (third from left) has been sidelined since January with a knee injury. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

Rajon Rondo participated in a full Celtics practice on Sunday for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee back in January.

The Boston Globe reports that it’s still not clear exactly when the four-time All-Star point guard will return to the court, but it won’t happen until at least 2014.

“I don’t know a timetable,” [Celtics president Danny] Ainge said. “None of us do and none of us can. As we can recall from every one of these incidents that have happened from the past few years, it’s all just guessing. So it’s sort of silly to speculate.”

Ainge added, “I don’t anticipate him playing in any games this month, for sure. I also don’t know if there’s a time in January or a time in February. I really don’t know the answer. A lot of it is going to depend on how he responds to this next phase.”

First-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Rondo “fit right in” during the training session, according to ESPNBoston.com.

Rondo, 27, has watched the Celtics totally shift course during his rehabilitation. Once Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded to the Nets last summer, Rondo became the only remaining player from the Celtics team that won the 2008 title. Longtime Celtics coach Doc Rivers has moved on to the Clippers, with Stevens making the leap from Butler to Boston to replace him.

Even with Ainge clearly steering the Celtics towards a rebuilding cycle, Boston has emerged as one of the league’s biggest surprises, holding an 11-14 record that’s good enough to lead the Atlantic Division. If the playoffs started today, the Celtics would actually have homecourt advantage, and the prospect of Rondo’s return should bolster Boston’s fight for the division title.

During his absence, Rondo’s name has repeatedly popped up in trade rumors, but Ainge’s caution when discussing Rondo’s timeline suggests that the point guard might not have too many games under his belt by the time the Feb. 20 trade deadline rolls around.

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