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Rajon Rondo plans to return before the All-Star Break

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff  January 10, 2014 02:51 PM

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who has yet to play a game this season as he recovers from knee surgery, said Friday that he plans to return before the All-Star break.

The Celtics' final game before the break is Feb. 12 against the San Antonio Spurs at TD Garden.

Rondo made his comments before the Celtics held a morning shootaround at the Four Seasons Hotel here. They are in the Bay area to play the Golden State Warriors Friday night in Oakland, the fourth game on a five-game road trip.

"It may be this month, next month. It’ll be before All-Star Break," Rondo said.

Rondo suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee a year ago. He had surgery in February 2013, performed by Dr. James Andrews, and has been rehabbing since.

"I haven’t had any swelling," he said. "I’m wearing my brace. At times when I play, it doesn’t feel like I have it on. No setbacks. It’s just, I’m taking my time."

At this point, conditioning remains a key hurdle.

"I’m just trying to get back into shape," he said. "I haven’t played ball in 12 months. You can do all the cardio, treadmill, running you want, it’s still different from basketball shape."

Rondo didn't rule out a possible stint in the NBA's Development League, either.

"I might go practice with them when I get back," he said. "Still just not sure yet."

Since he was first cleared to participate in full-contact practice in December, Rondo said, he has made considerable progress.

"I feel 10 times better," he said. "I feel more confident, stronger, more explosive. What I’m doing in the weight room, it’s productive."

He also said he's getting more comfortable with his teammates, many of whom haven't played with him before.

"I’m getting a feel for them, they’re getting a feel for me," he said. "I’m hitting a couple guys in the face or the chest, not knowing the ball is coming. The biggest thing is, I’m always telling guys, always be ready, even though it may not seem like the ball is coming to you."

Still, the hardest part, he said, is "just not playing."

"I don’t even like to watch the game anymore," he said. "It's frustrating. You see things that you just can’t help. It’s only a matter of what you can do from a vocal standpoint on the sidelines."

Asked what it will take for him to know he's ready to return, Rondo said, "It’s just a feeling. I’ll probably just wake up that morning and play."

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