I told him, whenever he feels best and is ready to be back, we'll support him and we'll be happy that he's back," Stevens said Friday at Holland Elementary School in Dorchester, where the Celtics teamed up with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for a community event.
Stevens said no date has been established for Rondo's return. In fact, the coach said he hasn't even asked the question in "a couple of weeks."
Stevens went on to talk about Rondo's outlook for the upcoming season from his discussions with No. 9.
"My general sense is he's really excited," said Stevens. "He's excited about the challenge of a new season. He's excited about the challenge of a new situation. He seems to be excited. I don't want to speak for him and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but every time we've talked it's been a really engaging conversation."
The questions surrounding Rondo are the biggest ones facing the franchise this year. Will Rondo come back fully healthy or will the injury leave him as a fraction of the player he once was? If Rondo is the same player, will he take over the team and be the face of the franchise or will he be frustrated with a team rebuilding during his prime years and want out or move on to another team when his contract is up in 2015? What does a team built around just Rondo look like?
The answers to those questions will only come with time. And what may be the bigger question for the future of the Celtics: Is it a good idea to turn Boston into "Rondo's team?" Rondo is an immense talent, but the team may be in trouble if he is far-and-away the best player on the squad. Many have said he is one of the smartest basketball minds in the game, but sometimes he makes some really dumb decisions, such as bumping into refs and fighting opposing players. Hopefully the draft picks the Celtics acquired in their trades with the Clippers and Nets, as well as their own possibly high pick in the 2014 draft, can either be used to draft another superstar or be used to trade for one to help Rondo shoulder the leadership burden. If not, fans may have to wait longer than anticipated for a shot at banner 18.