Chris Forsberg/ESPN Boston
Rajon Rondo leads the team stretch after practice.NEWPORT, R.I. -- Point guard Rajon Rondo went through a non-contact, morning walkthrough as the Boston Celtics opened training camp on Tuesday, then rehabbed on his own while (vocally) observing the team’s full-contact afternoon session.
That should remain the plan as the Celtics navigate three days of double sessions at the Rodgers Recreation Center on the campus of Salve Regina University. Rondo is working his way back from ACL surgery in mid-February and has hinted he won't return to game action until December.
“He went through the morning workout and he’s probably going to do one workout per day,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Then he took the afternoon off, but he was very active in the afternoon. He was in the huddle, he was in the drills as far as communicating. You saw him leading our stretching at the end, he was really active today.”
Rondo took the captain-like position in the center of Boston’s post-practice stretch at midcourt following the afternoon session, then was one of the last players out of the gym -- herding his teammates as they caught the bus back to the team hotel.
The Celtics engaged in a 50-minute, untaped, non-contact session in the morning with a focus on offensive drills. The team reconvened in the afternoon for a 90-minute session heavy on defense and competitive drills.
As for Rondo’s morning workout, Stevens noted, “He’s doing shooting drills, he’s moving. We’re not doing anything defensively, so there’s not a lot of lateral movement there. But he’s doing everything else, and he works out with our strength and conditioning people and does his rehab. From everything I know, that’s all part of his rehab.”
Celtics second-year forward Jared Sullinger, who is also working his way back from February surgery, said Rondo’s leadership was a constant presence on the floor on Tuesday.
“Honestly, he’s been the eyes of the team for many years and he’s still the eyes,” Sullinger said. “He sees what we don’t see and he’s constantly talking to us. Even though he’s not playing, he’s coaching for us. He’s a big-time help.
Pressed on that vocal leadership, Sullinger added, “Second practice, he’s just saying what we sees as far as screening angles, what type of options you have. He’s always in the guards’ ears, telling them what to do. I think as a player of his caliber and his IQ, it really helps everyone else develop even though he’s not playing.”
And how did Rondo look in the morning session?
“Honestly, he moves better every day,” Sullinger said. “Every day he gets more comfortable, every day mentally he gets more comfortable. Obviously, compared to last year, Rondo was in tip-top shape and he had two knees. But right now, he’s working hard to get back.”