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.
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.
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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.
Crawford and Brooks were not expected to be in uniform for Golden State’s home game against Denver on Wednesday night.
The Warriors had hoped Douglas could serve as the primary ball-handler behind Curry, but he missed 14 games because of a stress reaction in his left tibia and he hasn’t been able to find a rhythm since he returned. Douglas averaged 3.7 points, 0.8 assists and 11 minutes in 24 games this season.
For the Heat, the gains are largely financial, both short- and long-term.
Anthony was making $3.8 million this season — more than double what Douglas is earning — and is on the books for another $3.8 million next season. The deal should save the Heat more than $10 million in salary and luxury tax payments over the next two seasons, and that may help when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all decide to become free agents this summer.
“It’s always difficult trading a player like Joel who was a big part of the past two championship teams and will always be a part of the Miami Heat family,” Heat President Pat Riley said in a statement. “This trade gives us great flexibility moving forward in our journey to win an NBA Championship. Joel was a true professional who worked hard every day and we wish him the best in the future.”
And because point guard Mario Chalmers is currently dealing with an Achilles problem, Douglas also could provide some insurance there as well. Another option is that the Heat choose to simply absorb whatever’s left on Douglas’ $1.6 million contract this season to open a roster spot, one that they could possibly target free agent center Andrew Bynum with.
Anthony played in 12 games for Miami this season, logging more than three minutes just four times. He scored a total of six points and has been largely an afterthought in the Heat rotation since the team signed forward Chris Andersen to be their top big-man reserve last year.
The Heat also are awaiting the return of center Greg Oden, who has not played in a regular-season game in more than four years but has been steadily progressing in a rehab program since signing with Miami in the offseason.