WALTHAM, MA — Eight months after tearing his ACL, Celtics All-Star Rajon Rondo was still unsure when he would return to the floor at Celtics 2013 Media Day Monday. After catching a football from Jordan Crawford and making his way to the podium, Rondo refused to commit to a timeframe for a return and pointed to Derrick Rose as precedent.
“When I’m mentally ready, I’ll play,” Rondo told reporters. “A lot of people gave Derrick Rose a lot of heat about not playing, or whatever the case may be. This injury isn’t easy.”
The biggest issue for Rondo, like Rose, is being comfortable with the knee being strong on the court. “It’s more mental when you come back, and you get around 10 to 11 months, it’s just feeling confident.”
That is especially true for players like Rondo and Rose who rely on their athleticism for effectiveness. Although Rondo is not as aerially explosive as Rose, the torque Rondo puts on his stop-and-go moves typically exert more force on the knee than landing. But Rondo still needs to be an aerial threat to remain effective and being confident that his knee won’t fall apart upon landing is the most important aspect to the return.
“Our legs are pretty much everything. We use our speed. [Rose] is very athletic; I’m athletic and you need that mental aspect to go up and jump and come down without thinking about your leg again.
“Because the last jump, for myself and him; we’ve come down and torn our ACL. Just being mentally ready; when I get there, I’ll play.”
So when will Rondo return? “The 2013-2014 season.”