BOSTON -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo returned to action Saturday after sitting out Thursday's loss at Brooklyn due to a sprained right ankle.
Rondo turned the ankle after landing awkwardly on a baseline drive in the third quarter of Wednesday's win over the Utah Jazz. He sat out the final 17 minutes that night and did not play in Brooklyn.
Team trainer Ed Lacerte gave him clearance to return against Toronto on Saturday morning. The Celtics won 107-89. Rondo dished out 20 assists and scored 6 points in 32 minutes of play.
"I don't ever come to [the medical decision], honestly, him and Eddie walked in this morning and said they are ready," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "So he's ready."
Rivers said he pulled Rondo from the game when it was clear he shouldn't be on the floor.
"Limping, not being able to perform. The eyes always tell you," Rivers said. "It's not brain surgery in that regard, especially with a guard, that makes it a lot easier. You can limp around as a big and still be effective, because you're still big. But guards are pretty easy."
The Celtics and Raptors met in a rare Saturday matinee at the Garden. Rivers noted that, as a coach, he's fine with the rare early tip-off, but admitted players typically hate them.
"As a coach, I love them -- not because of the game, because it gives you a ton of time after the game to prepare for the next game," said Rivers, whose squad travels to Detroit after the game to play the Pistons on Sunday. "But as a player, I never liked them. They just come too quick. Most players are creatures of habit. And it just takes you out of your routine. I think this is our only one this year, so that's the good news."
Back in Rivers' playing days, matinee games were hardly a rarity.
"We had tons of them," Rivers said. "I never liked them, but we had a lot of them. You always thought -- during an afternoon game as a player -- if you're playing great, then you loved it that day. But if you're playing poorly, you thought it was very difficult to pull yourself out of it. You haven't had your normal mental preparation to get ready for a game. It felt like when you start struggling in an early game, you couldn't just pull yourself out of it."