The Celtics arrived at the TD Garden this morning still uncertain about the status of point guard Rajon Rondo for today's game against the Toronto Raptors, but after a pregame meeting with head trainer Ed Lacerte, coach Doc Rivers now says that Rondo will play.
After missing Thursday night's loss to the Brooklyn Nets with a sprained right ankle, Rondo is now back and healthy, looking like his old self.
"He looked exactly like Rondo, yeah," Rivers joked. "Same clothes and everything."
Rondo played just 25 minutes on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz, leaving in the third quarter on account of the ankle. After a few days to rehab, he's now ready to return, but Rivers said he plans to keep an eye on the point guard, looking for warning signs that he's not able to finish the game.
"Limping," the coach said. "Not being able to perform. The eyes always tell you. It's not brain surgery in that regard. Especially with a guard -- that makes it a lot easier. You can limp around as a big and still be effective, because you're still big. But with guards, it's pretty easy."
As for the Raptors, they're dealing with a point guard injury of their own, as Kyle Lowry plans to sit out his fifth straight game with a sprained right ankle and bruised right foot. Jose Calderon will once again start in his place.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey noted that his squad was short-handed in the backcourt but said he was still game-planning for his Raptors to match up against both Rondo and his backup, former Raps guard Leandro Barbosa.
"You have to," Casey said of planning for Rondo. "He's such an important part of their game that you have to prepare for him. The head of the snake is Rondo. This team goes the way he goes. He's a big part of their engine, but also we know too that Leandro's a very capable scorer, which is a different approach than when Rondo's in the lineup."