COMMENTARY | The days have been dark for the Boston Celtics since the turn of the new year.
The team is 0 for 2014 and has lost nine straight games dating back to Dec. 31, 2013. But help is potentially on the way in the form of All-Star guard Rajon Rondo.
Head coach Brad Stevens gave a positive update on the status of Rondo before the Celtics engaged the Houston Rockets on Jan. 13. His words "sooner rather than later" in regards to Rondo's return signified some of the best Boston sports news not affiliated with the New England Patriots in weeks.
Then later that same evening, the usually socially reserved Rondo sent out a tweet that seemed to support the lukewarm optimism uttered by Stevens. It read "29,233,380 secs."
That was it--nothing more, nothing less.
While it was not abundantly clear at first, NBA reporters began doing the math and deduced that the random tweet indicated the amount of time between Rondo's ACL surgery (Feb. 13, 2013) and the time the Celtics take on the rival Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 17. Approximately 338 days.
The veteran guard hadn't tweeted since Christmas eve, so it was an ingenious and very Rondo-esque way to announce his potential return. "NBA Twitter" was sent ablaze by that simple statement and approximation of time. While official word has yet to come down, it makes little sense for Rondo to troll without a true return date in mind.
One has to wonder if the recent brutal stretch Boston has endured has pushed Rondo's timetable up in any way. Watching the Celtics struggle can't be easy for him, especially in late-game situations where Boston has crumbled. He knows his presence on the court would captain the offense and put guys in the right positions to score down the stretch. Still, he has said all along that he wouldn't return until he was 100% confident that he could play without limitations. He should be taken at his word.
Rondo's return will not be the cure-all for the Celtics' struggle, which are many, and it will take him some time to get up to speed. That needs to be understood throughout the organization and communicated to Rondo repeatedly.
Given the injury-plagued season the NBA has endured, specifically to point guards, Rondo needs to be sure that he doesn't over exert himself early on. A minutes-restriction will almost assuredly be in place for him and no matter how dire things get, Boston needs him to adhere to the medical staff's recommendations.
Although turbulence has descended upon the Celtics in recent weeks, the calm, game-managing force that is Rondo seems poised for a return. It will be great to have one of the game's best back on the court. The return of a proud player for an even prouder franchise has Boston fans waiting with bated breath.
Warren Shaw is a NBA contributor to Dime Magazine and co-host of the weekly basketball podcast "The Baseline". He has covered various sporting events live while also conducting one on one player interviews. His passion for basketball is seconded by boxing and his work can be found on shawsports.net.Follow him on Twitter @ShawSportsNBA.
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