MIAMI — Rajon Rondo has been under minutes restrictions in the first two games since he returned to action after missing nearly a year with a knee injury, but his playing time is expected to increase when the Celtics face the Miami Heat here Tuesday night.
Rondo has been playing 20 total minutes per game, broken down into 5 minutes per quarter. That could increase to 25 minutes against the Heat, said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
“It just continues to increase as he feels better,” Stevens said before morning shootaround at AmericanAirlines Arena. “There’s nothing on the day after the game that would tell you otherwise, i.e. swelling, etc.”
Rondo played 21:20 in the loss to the Orlando Magic Sunday and said he felt fine afterward. In that game, he actually begged Stevens to stay in during the second quarter, but Stevens adhered to the restrictions and took Rondo out.
“Anybody that’s ever played sports, they [can come] in and they know they’re not going to play a lot,” said Stevens. “And then when the time comes to come out of the game: ‘No, no, no. I can go longer.’
“That’s just your adrenaline talking and your competitiveness talking. That was anticipated and we talked about that before the time. He knows. He wanted to stay in, but he also knew the way we were going to do it.”
Stevens also said that Jerryd Bayless will miss the game with a sprained left big toe and could be sidelined 7-10 days. With Bayless out, reserve point guard Phil Pressey figures to play even more minutes.