BOSTON – The man who calls all the shots in the Boston Celtics' offense will make the call on his return date. Rajon Rondo, who has been cleared for full contact, will decide when he is ready to return according to coach Brad Stevens.
"I don’t see how it could be anything else," Stevens said Monday before the Celtics host the Minnesota Timberwolves in one of their few nationally televised games this season. "Ultimately a person has to be ready and he has to feel good.
"There are certain physical things that he’ll have to meet to be cleared to even be considered for games, that he has not met yet. But nobody should make that call except for the individual involved."
Rondo has looked healthy in the limited glimpses the public has seen of him, but as was heavily reported in the case of Derrick Rose, being able to play and being confident in one's knee to play are two vastly different things. With Rose's latest injury, tearing the opposite knee, he serves as an unfortunate cautionary tale for Rondo in his decision to play.
Another player who spent the offseason rehabbing was Jared Sullinger, who has slowly returned to full form since his rough start out the gate in early November. While Sullinger has sported an improved jumpshot and (inconsistent) three-point range, he is looking forward to being able to develop even further next offseason.
"Yeah, that’s one thing I am looking forward to in the offseason, is being able to get out there and better myself as a basketball player," Sullinger said. "This year, I couldn’t really do anything. It was just kinda like nautral ability almost.
"I really didn’t have a great offseason, minus rehabbing my back. I still got a lot of work to do so this offseason is going to be a big time for me."
Sullinger discussed Kevin Love, a player who dramatically improved his versatility and conditioning after coming into the league overweight. "Honestly, [Love] is playing like an MVP this year. Obviously, he's going to be an All-Star, God forbid, if he doesn’t get hurt though."
When asked if Sullinger he studies film of other players in hopes of transitioning his game further from the hoop like Love, he said, "Not really. Not really. Honestly, I just look at video of what I do and try to better myself."
Sullinger emphasized he doesn't want to leave the post, where he has shown early signs of advanced back-to-the-basket skills akin to some of the power post players of the 80's and 90's. He'll get his chance Monday night to show the Love and the rest of the counrty what he can do down on the block.