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Celtics' Rajon Rondo eyes return before All-Star break

Strength and Conditioning Coach Bryan Doo
Celtics' Rajon Rondo does strength and conditioning drills as part of his rehab.
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)

Rajon Rondo says he hopes to make his season debut before the All-Star break. Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says he has never spoken to Rondo or anybody in the organization about a specific return date.

This much is clear: Rondo's return is inching closer.

Rondo, who has been out since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last January, told reporters at the team's morning shootaround Friday in San Francisco that he hopes to make his season debut before the break but declined to give a specific date. Boston's last game before the break is Feb. 12.

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"It's just a feeling," Rondo told reporters. "I'll probably just wake up (one) morning and play."

Stevens said before the Celtics played at Golden State on Friday night that the decision for Rondo to return will not be made by him. Instead, the first-year Celtics coach said it will be solely up to team doctors and the point guard.

"It's not my call," Stevens said. "Obviously the trainers, No. 1, to be able to clear him to do certain things, to clear him to play games, to clear him to practice. That's their job, and they do that well.

"And it's about him feeling ready in a number of ways. I can't lose sleep over things I can't control personally. I'm more concerned about him being healthy. I want him to be fully ready to go mentally, emotionally and physically. And when that time is right, we'll plug him right in."

Stevens also stressed he's still not sure when Rondo will return.

"We never talked about a specific date," Stevens said. "It's been, `Hey, when you feel like you're close, then we'll talk at that point.' But I've never talked to him about that nor have I heard from our organization that there's been a date that's been targeted."

Rondo runs the offense but can't do it from the sideline.

The four-time All-Star point guard's return has been uncertain since the team announced during a double-overtime win against Miami on Jan. 27, 2013, that he would have season-ending surgery. He had injured his knee two days earlier against Atlanta.

Doctors cleared Rondo to participate fully in practice in the middle of December. There's also the possibility he could play for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League before rejoining the Celtics, who had lost six straight and nine of their last 10 entering Friday night's game at the Warriors.

Tagged: Celtics, Rajon Rondo

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