Rajon Rondo is healthy and training feverishly to get into basketball shape as the NBA lockout reaches its fourth month.
It’s been an eventful past summer for the Celtics point guard, who made an appearance yesterday at a Boston-area bookstore to sign an energy-drink magazine cover featuring his photo. Rondo will soon become the face of the Celtics’ franchise -- the youngest All-Star on a roster full of seasoned veterans – and he’s ready to get started on perhaps one final championship run with the current roster.
“I hope there’s a season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it and everyone around the league is, even the fans. It’s just an extended vacation as far as trying to continue to train and get better. It’s more time for me to work on my game, and that’s how I try to face it in the next couple of weeks or months or whatever we have.
“Right now my focus is to play with the Celtics.”
Rondo made highlight reels with an acrobatic alley-oop pass to Denver rookie Kenneth Faried in a Kentucky all-star game this week and made his first organized basketball appearance last weekend at the South Florida All-Star Classic, which he was promptly booed by the Heat faithful at Florida International University.
“I had a fun time at the game, a lot of guys playing together,” he said. “It’s good competition, that’s what you look for in this type of time of the year. The elbow is fine. I have been playing in a lot of games and it hasn’t given me any problems yet.”
The Celtics are half of a team right now. Whenever the lockout ends, Boston will begin camp with seven signed players and two rookies. Obviously, team president Danny Ainge will have to bolster the roster for his club to become legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. After last May’s drubbing at the hand of the Miami Heat, Rondo is eager to see a retooled roster.
“It will be different make up, a lot of different guys,” said Rondo, who revealed he is not considering signing overseas. “So a lot of new faces around the city but we’ll try to get them accustomed to how we do things here in Boston and go for a championship.”
In addition to his marketing stops, Rondo has worked out feverishly at the University of Kentucky, as noted on Twitter by Wildcats head coach John Calipari. Rondo admits he is not in true basketball shape because of a lack of a training camp but he is prepared for more extensive workouts when the lockout concludes.
Many of Rondo’s teammates are still smarting from the elimination by Miami, a series marred by Rondo’s freakish dislocated left elbow in Game 3. Rondo remarkably returned to that game and played in the final two games of the series, but he was hardly of all-star caliber.
“I don’t try to say woulda, coulda (about being healthy), they beat us, 4-1, as simple as that,” he said. “I think it was all adrenaline to come back in the game where I hurt my elbow. The next game it wore off and I had to sit down a little bit.”