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Competitive Rajon Rondo should be ready to play tonight

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He wasn't happy that he had to miss the Bulls game.

Mike Lawrie

Thankfully it sounds like the procedure for taking the screws out of Rajon Rondo's hand went smoothly and he should be able to play tonight against Oklahoma City.

Rajon Rondo not thrilled he needed to miss Boston Celtics game for hand procedure, explains why screws needed to be removed | masslive.com

As expected, Rondo plans to meet the Thunder on Wednesday night. The four-time All-Star said his hand remains "a little sore, but nothing I can’t play with. It’s too early to tell (whether the procedure made a difference). It’s only been one day really since I’ve practiced, and that’s (Tuesday). I’ll see how my hand reacts (Tuesday night) with the swelling." Said head coach Brad Stevens: "From what I gather, it was a quick in-and-out (procedure) as far getting into his hand and taking the screws out. They anticipated him being back and full-go by (Tuesday) and he was. So no issues."

Interestingly, Rondo was apparently a little frustrated at the process.

Rajon Rondo Was Not Pleased to Miss a Game for Hand Procedure - Celtics Blog - Boston.com

"Danny made a decision at halftime [of last Friday’s game]," Rondo said at Tuesday's practice, when asked about how he found out about the surgery. "I didn’t have any idea. I came in very pissed off [about missing the trip to Chicago] but the team got the win."

"The screws were irritating me a little bit," Rondo admitted. "I was getting X-rays on it weekly and Dr. [Brian] McKeon thought I would be able to make it to All-Star weekend. But I wasn’t. And he kind of pulled the trigger [on having the screws removed] the next day."

It sounds like Rondo was originally expecting to wait till the All Star break where he wouldn't have had to miss any games.  We know that he worked hard to get back in time for opening night, so I think a little part of him was hoping to show everyone that his fall in the shower didn't cost him any real on-court time.  He's also a competitor and of course wanted to play if at all possible - especially when he's been playing as well as he has despite the screws.

I'm sure some will read into this quote as evidence that Rondo's not happy with the Celtics or Danny Ainge but I don't really see it that way (though, for full disclosure, I'm a wee bit of a Rondo apologist, so take my opinions with a block of salt lick).  I do think that Rondo might dislike having the decision made for him - he notes that the Doctor and Danny Ainge made the call.  But I think that even he can see that they were only being overly cautious with him.

Even more important is the success that Rondo has had on the court in Brad Stevens' ball movement system this year.  There were some worries that Rajon wouldn't fit in well since he likes to have the ball in his hands.  Stevens has countered that in his system the ball moves and it comes back to Rondo so he ends up getting about the same number of touches.

Sounds like Rondo has bought in.

Rondo, Celtics on the move | Boston Herald

"I think it’s pretty productive," said Rondo, who’s producing a neat 11.2 assists per game. "You know, you can’t really scout our team because everybody’s going to get shots probably evenly distributed. Everybody’s making plays for each other, and I think it’s kind of similar to San Antonio, the way they play, their style. They have the big three, but you still see guys like Danny Green making plays, Kawhi Leonard, and other guys that are making plays for each other on their team. "I think it’s kind of similar to what we’re doing here with the Celtics now."

It certainly seems like a good idea to do more of what the Spurs and many other successful teams are doing.  Especially with the versatile, diverse group of non-stars that the Celtics have playing alongside Rondo.

I'm glad Rondo only missed one game and should be back on the court tonight against the Thunder.  They proved that they can survive without him against the Rose-less Bulls, but in general they are a much better ball club with him.  I like our chances against short-handed OKC which would put us up a game over .500 for the year.