With the support of his general manager, coach, and veteran teammates, injured Celtics guard Rajon Rondo is taking time to make sure he's healthy.
Rondo sat out for the second time in three games last night against the Trail Blazers with a bruised back and a lingering strained right hamstring. He said his status is day to day, he will return "hopefully Friday" against the 76ers, and an MRI of his back Monday was negative.
Rondo also said director of basketball operations Danny Ainge, coach Doc Rivers, and his teammates have told him not to return until he's "fully ready to play."
Replacing Rondo in his first start of the season, Eddie House scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, nailed two 3-pointers, grabbed 4 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists in 34 minutes of the Celtics' 100-90 victory. Rookie Gabe Pruitt scored 2 points on 1-of-6 shooting and had 2 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 assist in 11 minutes.
"[Pruitt] was great," coach Doc Rivers said. "He had shots, which is good. But I was more excited on the defensive end. Got a couple [of good defensive plays], strips. So he was terrific."
Rondo shot jumpers after yesterday's shootaround but didn't run. "It's a little sore," he said. "I'm just going to take my time. It's not too bad. I feel a lot better, but it's still a lot different when you go out there and run full speed. I'm not going to try to test it. I'm just going to try to let it rest.
"I'm just listening to the vets. They say to take my time and don't rush back. Everybody wants to play. But you just got to take care of your body."
Rondo said he has been getting treatment on both injuries for about 30 minutes a day, including ice and electrical stimulation.
Playing 21 minutes in Monday's 88-83 loss to Washington at TD Banknorth Garden, he said he didn't have his normal explosiveness and felt worse after a third-quarter lay-in attempt on a fast break. Rivers said after the game he told trainer Ed Lacerte he wanted Rondo to rest until he is ready. Rondo added that he will return when he is "fully ready to play."
"Even Danny told me don't try to rush it," Rondo said. "I feel pretty comfortable in taking time off and getting rest to try to get my body together."
Said Rivers, "I just don't think he's moving well. He didn't practice [Tuesday] or [yesterday], so that told me enough."
Rivers said he has not spoken to Ainge about bringing in another point guard and that Pruitt will get an opportunity. Rivers also said he hasn't considered using Ray Allen or James Posey at the position and he's not panicking.
"I don't ever worry about guys who aren't playing. We need them all," Rivers said. "Having said that, when we don't have them, somebody else has to step in. That's been my attitude all year and my attitude since I've coached. I don't dwell on the injury."
Oden watchingTrail Blazers center Greg Oden, the top pick in the 2007 draft, has been rehabilitating smoothly from his knee injury and getting strong advice, too.
The 7-foot, 250-pounder is out for the season while recovering from microfracture surgery on his right knee Sept. 13. Oden said he definitely isn't returning this season or playing for USA Basketball this summer. He added he might work out with injured Heat center Alonzo Mourning during the offseason and has received advice about taking his time returning from Nets guard Jason Kidd.
"[My rehabilitation is going] really good," Oden said. "My knee is getting stronger. I'm getting bigger . . . I can't really run. I can't really jump. But I'm on the bike, in the pool running, on the elliptical [machine]."
The Celtics had a strong shot at getting Oden during the lottery since they had the second-worst record in the NBA last season. Some Boston fans were so excited about the possibility that they wore Celtics jerseys bearing his last name on the back during the team's lottery party. The Celtics landed the fifth pick.
"I was open to whatever, but there was a lot of [Boston] talk," Oden said. "I was actually on a plane [during the lottery]. By the time I got off the plane, I was like, 'All right, I was going to be open for everything.' When I got off the plane, I was like, 'It's going to be Boston or Memphis.' And then it was like Portland, Seattle [second]. I was like, 'All right.' "