WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo practiced again with the Celtics on Monday and is slowly returning to basketball shape and perhaps his rehabilitation may include a stint with Maine of the NBA Development League, according to coach Brad Stevens.
Stevens said Rondo likely wouldn’t return to the Celtics during their five-game West Coast road trip beginning on Jan. 5 but he could spent time with Maine practicing and playing in D-League games before coming back to the NBA.
Rondo has not played since Jan. 25 because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.
“I would make that a decision on him and our staff,” Stevens told the Globe following practice at the Celtics Training Center at Health Point. “That is something that has been discussed, probably some positives and negatives to that, but at the end of the day, it is an option as part of his rehabilitation.”
When asked if Rondo would travel west with the Celtics, Stevens said: “And playing? I have not been given any indication he would be playing that soon. It’s going to be on him. Physically, I think he’s looking better and better. But that’s to be expected, you’re going to gain more confidence but I don’t know when that translates to ready to play.”
Stevens former point guard at Butler, Ronald Nored, is a player development coach in Maine and he and Rondo have discussed the possibility of Rondo spending some time there.
“That would be positive,” Stevens said of Nored’s presence with Maine. “The extra practice time they have between games is a possibility, getting a chance to play multiple games in that area is a positive. So there are a lot of positives, getting your legs underneath you a little bit.”
The Celtics have not used their D-League affiliate for rehabilitation over the past few years. The last Celtics regular to see a stint there was Avery Bradley during his rookie season. Little-used rookies Fab Melo and Kris Joseph spent time with Maine last season.
“I think the D-League will be used for rehabbing more than it has been, over the next four or five years,” Stevens said. “And it makes a lot of sense. It’s like all the time you see major league basketball players play in Triple-A, you see that all that. But that would be a question for (Rondo). We have talked about it in our offices. It’s a possibility for sure.”