ORLANDO, Fla. — Two days after playing his first game in nearly a year, Rajon Rondo said that he feels fine overall and that his right knee — the one he had surgically repaired after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 25, 2013 — feels okay too.
“I’m alive. I’m walking. I’m well. I feel fine,” the Celtics point guard said Sunday morning before the team’s shootaround at the Amway Center here, leading up to the Celtics’ game against the Magic. “It’s been a while since I played, but I’m fine.”
Rondo played on a five-minute-per-quarter rule during his season debut Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers, and it figures that he’ll be on that system for a while.
“I think that will be the case until I’m told otherwise,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Our medical staff is really good. I trust them to do the right thing by our players.”
Stevens added that the most Rondo would play in one of the opening three quarters was five minutes. “And then we’ll go from there,” he said.
He added, “And let’s say you played him 12 in the fist three quarters and then 8 in the fourth, I think you’re testing conditioning a little bit. I do think the five-minute stints are probably best.”
In terms of a Rondo’s minute restriction, Stevens said there is no timeline.
“I’m guessing it will be at least for the first week, maybe more, in that minutes restriction,” Stevens said. “Again, how we divvy those up or how we space those out – I don’t know what the right answer is to that. I do think it’s important that he’s playing at the end (of games), like he did the other night, because that’s part of getting back in the groove of things.”
When asked about those minute restrictions, Rondo said, “It’s not frustrating. I want to be patient. I knew going into it that it would be 20 minutes. It’s the first time in my career where I’ve had limitations, but it’s part of it. It won’t last forever. It’s temporary.”
He added, “I’m not the first guy to do this, and I won’t be the last. I’ll adapt and I’ll adjust, and I’ll make the best of the 20 minutes.”
Rondo watched film of himself after the game and said that he felt okay about how he had performed, for the most part. But, again, patience is a part of the process.
“I haven’t had a preseason or training camp or even any other games to play,” Rondo said. “I try not to get too down on myself. But at the same time, I’m very competitive and I expect the best out of myself.”
When asked what he liked most about his return, Rondo said, “Just competing. I haven’t competed in 357 days. So just to compete. I’ve been taking it out on cards and other games, Connect Four, every game I can play. But basketball is what I love to do. It’s what I’ve been doing my entire life. I’m very blessed and fortunate to be able to do it again.”