Rondo Impacts C's Despite Limited Practice

NEWPORT, R.I. – Basketball isn’t a non-contact sport, but at the moment, it is for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.

Rondo, who tore his right ACL on January 25 in Atlanta, is participating in a limited capacity at Celtics training camp in Newport, R.I. Boston went through its first of three double-session days on Tuesday, but Rondo was only allowed to participate in the non-contact morning practice.

“He went through the morning workout and then he took the afternoon off,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “So he’s probably going to do one workout a day.”

Rondo already knows that his one workout a day will take place in the morning. Stevens has committed to a schedule that features non-contact offensive drills in the morning, and then full-contact defensive drills in the afternoon. Less than eight months after having his ACL surgically repaired, Rondo is already at a point where he can fully participate in those morning sessions.

“He’s doing shooting drills, he’s moving,” said Stevens. “We’re not doing anything defensively (in the morning), so there’s not a lot of lateral movement there. But he’s doing everything else.”

And from the sound of it, he looks pretty good out there. Jared Sullinger, who’s coming off a surgery of his own, says that as time continues to pass, Rondo continues to improve.

“Honestly, he moves better every day,” said the second-year big man. “Every day he gets more comfortable. Every day, mentally, he gets more comfortable. Obviously, compared to last year, Rondo was in tip-top shape; he had two knees. Right now he’s working hard to get back and he gets better every day.”

He’s helping the team get better, too, even when he’s not participating in drills. Rondo is taking his inactive practice time and using it to refine his coaching skills.

“He was very active in the afternoon,” Stevens said. “He was in the huddles, he was in the drills as far as communicating. You saw him leading our stretching at the end.”

Sullinger echoed those thoughts and explained why Rondo The Coach is so important to this team.

“He was the eyes for this team for many years,” said Sullinger. “He’s still the eyes (of this team). He sees what we don’t see, and he’s constantly talking to us. He’s not playing, but he’s still coaching for us. So he’s a big-time help.”

What, in particular, does Rondo see and explain that may otherwise go unnoticed?

“He’s just saying what he sees as far as screening angles, what type of options you have,” Sullinger explained. “He’s always in the guards’ ears telling them what to do. I think, as a player of his caliber and his IQ, he really helps everyone else develop even if he’s not playing.”

Intellectual guidance will certainly assist in the development of this new Celtics team. That, however, will never compete with Rondo’s physical presence on the court.

With a morning dose of participation and an afternoon dose of guidance, Rondo is helping the Celtics improve throughout each day. He may not be making contact, but he is making a major impact.