Rondo has yet to return from the ACL injury, and the rebuilding Celtics are hanging around without him. Boston is somehow competing for the top spot in the Atlantic Division while the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets struggle mightily. It's still early, but the Atlantic is clearly a mess.
Although a Rondo return is probably not imminent, there is now some good news regarding his recovery. According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, who cites a league source, Rondo has been cleared to return to practice whenever he feels ready.
There's no need to rush Rondo back to action, but it's great to hear that he's doing well. His health should be a priority for Boston, as Danny Ainge has insisted that Rondo is the franchise's building block going forward. Regardless of whether Ainge is telling the truth, a 100% Rondo is in everybody's best interest, even if a trade is the ultimate outcome.
In Rondo's absence, the Celtics have gotten quality basketball out of Jordan Crawford. Despite his reputation as a scoring shooting guard, Crawford has grown immensely as a player and has filled in admirably at point guard.
There was little doubt, but this appears to strengthen the belief that Rondo intends to play at some point this season. It will be interesting to see what this team looks like when he returns, particularly if the Atlantic Division continues to struggle.
It's a scary thought, but, with the way things are going, the Celtics could actually win the Atlantic Division with a healthy Rondo.