Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday that point guard Rajon Rondo is unlikely to participate in back-to-backs for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
Rondo has sat out the second game of five consecutive-night sets since returning in mid-January and the Celtics have four more back-to-backs on their schedule the remainder of the season.
“Based on where we are as a team and Rondo is his rehab, it’s probably safe to say he won’t [play in back-to-backs] the rest of the year,” Ainge said during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub on Thursday morning. “We need him to play because we want him to get re-acclimated. There’s a mental process, a mental hurdle to overcome when you come back from an ACL tear. So it’s important for him to play some games, but at the same time we don’t want to wear him out or take any risks.
"We want him to have a full year of rehab and strengthening and not take any steps backwards or something crazy. So we’re going to be careful with Rondo as we finish the year. It appears he’s gaining ground on returning to himself so that by that by the beginning of next year, he's 100 percent."
Rondo said recently that he is experiencing day-after soreness throughout his body and has exercised caution in sitting out the tail end of back-to-backs.
"If I was ready, I would play," Rondo said of sitting out back-to-backs. "It’s a combination of things that bother me in the lower part of my body -- my calves, my Achilles, and then my knees," said Rondo. "It’s just a part of those three that are affecting me after games that, the next day, I need to rest."
Added Rondo: "I’m still pretty sore when I wake up. My Achilles bothers me the most when I get out of the bed. Throughout the day, it gets better, but I still don’t want to try to overdo it and [then] something else happens because of that."
Rondo is averaging 11.9 points, 8.7 assists, and 4.6 rebounds over 31.4 minutes per game in 19 appearances since returning. The Celtics have 17 games remaining on the schedule and, subtracting those four back-to-back games, Rondo would still appear in more than 30 games this season after missing nearly a full year of basketball activity due to ACL surgery.