Rajon Rondo targets pre-ASG return

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo remains coy about a potential return to game action, but said Friday that he plans to be back on the court before the All-Star break.

"It may be this month [or] next month," Rondo told reporters in San Francisco before the Celtics' morning shootaround in advance of a game against the Golden State Warriors. "It'll be before All-Star break."

The Celtics play their final game before the midseason break on Feb. 12 when the San Antonio Spurs visit TD Garden. Rondo remained noncommittal if his return might come before that point.

"It's just a feeling," he said, according to MassLive.com. "I'll probably just wake up that morning and play."

Rondo tore his right ACL in late January of last year and underwent surgery in mid-February. He's patiently navigated his rehab, but admits it's hard not being on the floor.

"I don't even like to watch the game anymore," Rondo said, according to the Boston Globe. "It's frustrating. You see things that you just can't help. It's only a matter of what you can do from a vocal standpoint on the sidelines."

Rondo did note that he feels "10 times better" and "more confident, stronger, more explosive" based on the work he's done since being cleared to return to full-contact activities last month. And Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens noted that Rondo has looked good during situational game work during practice.

"In practice, when we have done 5-on-5 and he's been able to compete in that, he has really, really done well," said Stevens, according to MassLive.com. "And part of that is because not only does he have a feel for where he should be, he just gets everybody else in the right spots."

Rondo has flirted with the idea of joining the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League for practice or game reps. He suggested that's still a possibility when the team returns from a five-game West Coast road trip that wraps Saturday night in Portland.

The Celtics (13-23) have lost six in a row and nine of their last 10 but remains only 1½ games back of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. They are five games back of the division-leading Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic but only a half-game in front of the basement-dwelling Philadelphia 76ers entering Friday.