Celtics say Rajon Rondo set to play Friday

The time has come for Rajon Rondo to return to the Celtics.

Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations, said Thursday Rondo is poised to play Friday against the Lakers, barring a setback before then.

The news came a day after Rondo participated in a workout with the Celtics’ minor league team and then warmed up prior to a win against Toronto at TD Garden.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Rondo will be eased into the lineup, returning almost a full year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He did not play Wednesday.

“He’ll probably be playing five minutes a quarter, approximately,” Ainge said. “Knowing Rondo, he’ll probably complain about that.”

Yet Ainge said he won’t be surprised if Rondo is back at his All-Star level before long. “I expect him to come back quicker than anyone expects,” he said. “He’s a great competitor.”

It will be the first game for Rondo under new Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who said the team is “excited” to have Rondo back.

Stevens cautioned that he will allow Rondo time to reach his optimal level.

“I don’t think we can expect him to be Game 7 Rajon Rondo,” Stevens said.