WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo spent the end of Celtics practice launching 3-pointers off the glass, suggesting that the Celtics coaches and staff who were watching request how he shoot the ball: off the glass, hit the rim first, or a swish.
Rondo is obviously more comfortable with practice than a few weeks ago, but his return date from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee is still undetermined. His rehabilitation could continue with Maine of the NBA Development League, according to coach Brad Stevens.
Stevens said Rondo likely wouldn’t return to the Celtics during their five-game Western trip beginning Jan. 5 but he could spend time with the Red Claws practicing and playing in D-League games.
Rondo has not played since Jan. 25 after tearing his right ACL during a double-overtime loss in Atlanta.
“I would make that a decision on him and our staff,” Stevens told the Globe following practice at the Sports Authority Training Center. “That is something that has been discussed, probably some positives and negatives to that, but at the end of the day, it is an option as part of his rehabilitation.”
When asked if Rondo would travel with the Celtics, Stevens said: “And playing? I have not been given any indication he would be playing that soon. It’s going to be on him. Physically, I think he’s looking better and better. But that’s to be expected, you’re going to gain more confidence, but I don’t know when that translates to ready to play.”
Stevens’s former point guard at Butler, Ronald Nored, is a player development coach in Maine and he and Rondo have discussed the possibility of the point guard spending time there.
“That would be positive,” Stevens said of Nored’s presence with Maine. “The extra practice time they have between games is a possibility, getting a chance to play multiple games in that area is a positive. So there are a lot of positives, getting your legs underneath you a little bit.”
The Celtics have not used their D-League affiliate for rehabilitation over the past few years. Avery Bradley spent a short stint with Maine during his rookie season in 2010-11, although little-used rookies Fab Melo and Kris Joseph spent extensive time with the Red Claws last season.
“I think the D-League will be used for rehabbing more than it has been, over the next four or five years. And it makes a lot of sense,” Stevens said. “It’s like all the time you see Major League Baseball players play in Triple-A. But that would be a question for [Rondo]. We have talked about it in our offices. It’s a possibility for sure.”
There is a distinctive difference between Gerald Wallace at media day in late September and the one who addressed the media following Monday’s practice.
Wallace has become a vocal team leader, helping guide a club that’s been one of the league’s surprises, and he has formed strong friendships with his teammates, especially Jeff Green.
“It’s been great; it’s a different situation for me,” he said. “It’s a situation that I’m still kind of adjusting to, but it’s been fun. My teammates are great, being able to be around them and watch the team develop the way we’re playing and the progress we’ve made as a team. It’s been a great year for me so far.”
Wallace was unsure of his role after coming to Boston from Brooklyn, where he expected to play out his contract competing for championships. The Celtics aren’t yet championship worthy and Wallace is here primarily because his contract fit the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett trade. But he has wedged himself into a comfortable role off the bench and as the team’s voice of reason.
“I always tried to lead by example out there on the court,” he said. “I’m not out there as much [this season], so I have to do a lot more talking than I had been comfortable doing, but these guys here, they’re great, they’re listening and encouraged by what I say and they ask me a lot of questions, so I’m confident about it.”
Wallace said he believes Green can become an All-Star and has pushed the small forward to improve.
“He has so much upside; he can get so much better,” Wallace said. “He’s so explosive at his side, at the position that he plays, just the little things that I can help him that I’ve been through in my career and try to add to his game, try to get him advice about things he can do better. He’s taken heed to that and continued to get better every day.”
An eye on Teague
Indianapolis-native Jeff Teague of the Hawks is one of the league’s overshadowed point guards, but he has become a big shot-maker and a difficult cover for the Celtics. Stevens is familiar with the guard; he attempted to recruit Teague for Butler before he signed with Wake Forest.
“I’ve watched him play since he was a kid,” Stevens said. “He’s just a shifty guard who’s made huge shots. When he’s making shots like that, it’s hard to guard a guy who is that shifty and that fast. He’s always been an elite athlete with his ability to change speeds.”