Rajon Rondo was draining 3-pointers from the baseline before Sunday's Game 4 between the Celtics and Knicks. He looked as if he could play, but that nasty surgical scar on his right knee is an indication that he is months away from returning.
As close as he can get to game action is dressing in warmups and taking jumpers before games. Because of his torn right anterior cruciate ligament, Rondo cannot run. He can only watch the Celtics struggle mightily against the Knicks, trailing three games to none in the best-of-seven series.
Rondo is expected to return sometime early next season but his rehabilitation is in the early stages after tearing the ACL on Jan. 25 at Atlanta.
"I like to compete, I want to play but I'm fine where I'm at right now," he said before Game 4. "I'm just trying to support my teammates. That's all I can do and that's what I am going to do. I've been watching for four months now, it's hard sitting on the sideline watching. Can't do anything about it."
No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit and the Celtics may make some major offseason changes after a disappointing year. When asked if the Celtics could compete with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and some roster additions along with a healthy Rondo, he said: "I would say so. It's a long ways away, a lot of things can change this summer. I'm just focused on getting healthy, that's about it."
Rondo said it's difficult to watch, especially during the postseason. Rondo has thrived during Celtics postseason runs, including 44 points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals at Miami last season.
"That's what it's about, it's about stepping up to the plate, when the lights come on that's when you see what you're made of," he said. "I love the spotlight. I love the pressure situations and what other situation is better than the playoffs."
Rondo underwent surgery on Feb. 13 and said it's a six- to 12-month window to return.
"Every ACL surgery they say you can start running in about four to six months (after surgery)," he said. "I think that's when I'll start running. That's in the textbook of ACL rehab. I don't know how long training camp is far from my surgery. I get in between six to 12 months."
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose has yet to return to action approximately a year after tearing his ACL during last year's NBA playoffs.
"Everybody's different," Rondo said. "I can walk. I should be walking by now and I can walk. I can't jump. I can't run but I'm walking so for me that's on schedule."