Rivers: Going slow with Rajon Rondo

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning he wasn't sure if Rajon Rondo would return from an ankle sprain for Friday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets, expressing some concern that his All-Star point guard has experienced swelling in the area as he tries to work his way back.

"Rondo is day to day," Rivers said during his weekly interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "I don't know if you'll see him tomorrow or not, but he's getting close. So far each time he's worked out there's been some swelling and that's a concern. We're going to take it slow. We're not going to push him back. We're just going to wait until he's ready to play."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, while saying Rondo is getting better, also expressed reservations about his return.

"It was a pretty severe sprain," Ainge said later Thursday on WEEI. "Rajon is in a situation where he could play, but he's in pain still. He has pain on both sides of the ankle and we just don't want to get him back on to the court until he can play hard."

Rondo missed his sixth straight game Wednesday night, a 104-92 Celtics loss to the Detroit Pistons in which Kevin Garnett left with an injury of his own, to his leg.

The Celtics are 4-2 in Rondo's absence.

Rondo sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter of a win over the New York Knicks on Dec. 15. He returned to finish the game, but the ankle swelled and he departed Madison Square Garden on crutches.

Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com contributed to this report.