January 15

NBA: Rondo practices with Red Claws

Point guard teases about Friday return; Celtics also involved in 3-team trade

BOSTON (AP) — Rajon Rondo took a step toward returning to action Wednesday, working out with members of Boston’s NBA Development League team at the Celtics’ practice facility.

click image to enlarge

Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo who is on the injured list works on drills with a team mate prior to an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday Jan.11, 2014. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Celtics spokesman Brian Olive said the closed workout of unknown duration took place in Waltham, Mass.

Rondo has been out for nearly a year. He was not available for comment.

The Celtics had lost nine in a row going into Wednesday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden, but Rondo was not expected to play. The four-time All-Star hasn’t played since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last Jan. 25, and he has been hinting that he would like to return for Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Olive said any decision on Rondo’s return would be up to him and coach Brad Stevens. The coach said this week that Rondo would be put through some physical workouts to make sure he is ready, but ultimately it would be up to the doctors and trainers and Rondo.

One of those workouts was on Wednesday, when the Celtics announced at 12:26 p.m. that he had been assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the Development League and then announced at 2:19 p.m. that he had been recalled.

“Rajon is progressing terrifically in his rehab and this is the next step,” general manager Danny Ainge said. “This is a brief assignment so that Rajon can participate in a workout this afternoon with the Red Claws and he will be called back up to the Celtics upon the conclusion of the workout.”

In his last availability, on Friday, Rondo said he hoped to make his season debut before the All-Star break; Boston’s last game before the break is Feb. 12. But on Tuesday he sent a tweet saying, “29,233,380 secs” — an apparent reference to the amount of time between his surgery and Friday night’s game against the Lakers.

The Celtics had lost 12 of 13 heading into Wednesday night’s game.

• • •

The Golden State Warriors have been searching for a suitable backup to point guard Stephen Curry since veteran Jarrett Jack signed with Cleveland as a free agent last summer.

The Warriors had hoped Toney Douglas could help fill the void — he couldn’t.

Now they’re counting on Jordan Crawford for more production.

The Warriors acquired Crawford and reserve shooting guard MarShon Brooks from the Boston Celtics on Wednesday as part of a three-team trade.

Golden State sent Douglas to the Miami Heat, who traded seldom-used center Joel Anthony, two draft picks and cash considerations to the Celtics in a move that creates financial flexibility for the two-time defending NBA champions.

Miami gave Boston its 2015 protected first-round pick — originally acquired from Philadelphia — and 2016 second-round pick. If the 76ers don’t make the playoffs the next two seasons, the 2015 first-round pick will be a second-round selection.

The deal gives Golden State more scoring punch behind Curry after the defensive-minded Douglas had struggled to provide much support.

Crawford is averaging 13.7 points and 5.6 assists this season, but he became expendable with Boston expecting All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to return soon from a knee injury that has kept him out since last January. Crawford also is shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.

Brooks had two up-and-down years with the Nets before splitting time with Boston and the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League this season. He’s averaging 3.1 points in 10 games with the Celtics.

(Continued on page 2)

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