"I don't think he's close," said Ainge. "Meaning, I don't think [his return is] going to happen the next few weeks. We're not on pins and needles about it. We're being very cautious with Rondo. I think he's still got a little bit of a limp, his strength is not quite there, but he is making progress. We're not close."
"He's just not himself yet, but he's getting there and he's pushing himself to get there. Listen, we're going to be very cautious with him and make sure he's right before he comes back. There's just a little bit of a limp still. He's gotta get that strength back in the knee up to 100 percent before they'll let him back out on the court."
Rondo suffered a torn ACL last February, and the recovery time was put between 8 and 12 months. The Celtics have said Rondo is scheduled to meet with famous surgeon Dr. James Andrews in the next two weeks for a consultation.
A good bet for Rondo's return is likely sometime after the new year. The Celtics are stuck somewhere between being terrible and slightly competitive. They're not bad enough to lose out with a high probability of a draft pick, but not good enough that Rondo's return will impact them much. It's possible that they can make a run, win the awful Atlantic Division and make the playoffs, but it's hard to see what that would accomplish.
There had been talk over the summer about Rondo even being back for the season opener, but Rondo's smart to take his time. He has little to gain this season and as we saw with Derrick Rose, no matter how much time you take off, there's risk, so it's bes to put yourself in the best possible position.