WALTHAM — Whether Rajon Rondo will be healthy enough to step on the court for the Celtics' season opener Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets is up in the air. Rondo said Tuesday he'll sleep on it and see how he feels.
Rondo, who broke his left hand a month ago, went through another exam Tuesday after participating in his third full-contact practice.
The injury initially was expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks, but he's weighing an earlier return.
"The plan is to see how I feel tomorrow around maybe 5 o'clock," Rondo said. "See if I can give it a go. I've had two days of practice, so I'll be OK."
Rondo played the percentage game Monday, saying there was a 79 percent chance he'd make the opener.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens played along Tuesday.
"I just asked him what he wants me to say," Stevens said. "And he said, 'Tell them 83 percent.' "
Jokes aside, Stevens said he looks at Rondo's status one way: "If you can play, you can play. If you can't, you can't. So I don't really get into the 100 percent, 85 percent, 83 percent . . . all that stuff as far as how a person feels, how a doctor feels about it."
Despite the limited practice time Rondo has had , Stevens seems comfortable with the idea of putting him on the court Wednesday night.
"I think it's more about his comfort level right now," Stevens said. "I think they feel like he's progressed well and healed appropriately."
Whenever Rondo is ready to play, Stevens said, there wouldn't be a minutes restriction. Ultimately, Rondo said, the decision lies with him.
"I've got the call at the end of the day as far as my comfort level," Rondo said. "I don't want to have any second thoughts when I go out there and play."
Rotation in mind
This time a year ago, Stevens was still trying to sort out a consistent rotation. He went into the season with one starting lineup, and found himself tweaking it five games in. In the first month, he went with five starting lineups before ultimately settling on Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Jared Sullinger.
This year, Stevens feels comfortable starting the season with a lineup with Bradley, Green, Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Rondo — or Marcus Smart if Rondo is unable to go.
"I feel like we've got a better idea going into this season exactly how we want to go about it and then we'll make tweaks and changes as we go through it," Stevens said.
Off the bench, Stevens said, there are players who clearly have stood out. He plans to use at least a 10-man rotation, but there are up to 13 players who could see minutes.
"I think at the start of the season, too, you're still trying to figure out exactly who's going to separate themselves when the lights are really on," Stevens said. "I think that we clearly have probably 12, 13 guys that you could realistically put in tomorrow night.
"But you've got to whittle it down. I'll play 10 tomorrow for sure. Minutes, we'll figure out."
Stevens took time after practice to speak to a group of 40 students from Waltham High School about leadership. He emphasized that certain people can change the energy of a room with their attitude and pointed to Smart as an example. "Marcus is a great teammate," Stevens said. "People like being around him, but he clearly has a vibe about him that makes the locker room a more vibrant place." . . . His deadpan was too good to tell whether he was serious, but Rondo said he tried to reach out to Kevin Garnett to meet up while the Nets were in town, but "he turned me down." . . . The Celtics haven't won a season opener since 2010 when they spoiled LeBron James's debut with the visiting Miami Heat, 88-80. That was also the last time they opened the season at home. They haven't won a home opener since 2011 when they beat the Pistons, 96-85, thanks to a 19-point, 7-rebound night from Jermaine O'Neal. (Yes, Jermaine O'Neal.)
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.