BOSTON (AP) Point guard Rajon Rondo started the Boston Celtics' opener against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night - less than five weeks after breaking a bone in his left hand.
Wearing a black brace that covered his left wrist and part of his hand, Rondo gave the traditional captain's welcome to the fans and took the floor for the opening tipoff. On Boston's first possession, he brought the ball down the court, dribbling with both hands, before driving into the lane and throwing a pass that went through Avery Bradley's hands.
Asked before the game how much he would be able to use his left hand, Rondo said, ''You'll have to ask me that question after the game.''
Rondo said before the game that he made the decision about an hour before the tipoff. The crowd gave a big cheer when the news was announced during a pregame show broadcast on the TD Garden scoreboard.
Minutes earlier, coach Brad Stevens told reporters his All-Star point guard was ready to return from the broken hand that cost him most of training camp.
''He's as up to speed as he can be,'' Stevens said. ''I think he's ready to roll.''
After missing the first half of last season recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, Rondo seemed healthy heading into camp this fall before breaking a bone in his hand when he slipped in the shower. He was expected to miss six to eight weeks, but in updates this week he hinted that he might be able to come back early.
Rondo had an X-ray on Monday, and before practice Tuesday he said he would see how he feels after his pregame nap.
Apparently, he slept well.
''He's obviously anxious to play,'' Stevens said.
Stevens said he Rondo would not have any restrictions on how many minutes he plays.
''I might play him in shorter stints,'' the coach said. ''It will be how he plays after that. It really is his first preseason game.''