Celtics’ Ainge: Rondo won’t rush back from ACL injury

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo takes the ball down the court in the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks during a game on Jan. 23.
Daniel Shirey/USA Today Sports
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo takes the ball down the court in the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks during a game on Jan. 23.
Posted Sept. 24, 2013, at 5:24 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 24, 2013, at 10:49 p.m.

Point guard Rajon Rondo will be expected to contribute during training camp with the Boston Celtics when players report to Newport.

But general manager Danny Ainge said Rondo’s role would be that of an assistant coach, with a greater focus on his rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Rondo underwent surgery in February.

The Celtics didn’t rule out Rondo returning for the start of the regular season next month, but are keeping the timing of his return subject to change based on how Rondo recovers.

“I don’t think we would ever succumb to the pressure of bringing back a player from an ACL too soon,” Ainge told 98.5 SportsHub Radio.

Ainge said he would be “shocked” if Rondo was ready for the first game of the regular season against the Toronto Raptors.

“We’ve got to do what’s right for him,” said Ainge, who drew parallels to the recovery of Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins and Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who sat out all of last season after tearing his ACL in April 2012. “He’s young — maybe if he was 37 and it was his last year, but he’s still so young. And he’s our best player. We can’t afford to make any mistakes in judgment on when to bring him back.”

NBA NOTEBOOK: The Indiana Pacers signed rising star Paul George to a five-year maximum contract extension that will take him through the 2018-2019 season, ESPN.com reported Tuesday.

The team is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday.

Precise contract terms will not be determined until the extension take effect next year, but George is expected to earn about $80 million in guaranteed money over the course of the contract, according to the report. George, a forward, can earn an additional $10,000 if he makes an All-NBA team or wins an MVP award after this upcoming season.

George, 23, was named to the All-Star team this past season, when he also won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. The third-year pro averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 2012-2013 and was also named to the league’s all-defensive team.

— Rookie first-round draft picks Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams signed contracts with the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, the team announced.

The team did not disclose terms of the deals for either player.

The 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams was the No. 11 overall selection in the June draft. He left Syracuse after his sophomore season, averaging 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals per game. With the Sixers’ Summer League team in Orlando, he averaged 14 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals per game.

The 6-foot-11 Noel went to the New Orleans Pelicans with the sixth overall pick before the 76ers traded for his rights and a first-round draft pick in 2014 for Jrue Holiday and a second-round choice in the 2013 draft. Noel played one season at Kentucky, averaging 11 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and an NCAA-leading four-plus blocks per game. Despite sustaining a knee injury during the season, Noel still was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-SEC.

The NBA is taking the 2016 All-Star Game across the border to Canada, according to a report.

The 2016 edition of the league’s annual midseason get-together will be played in Toronto, the Toronto Sun reported on Tuesday. An official announcement is expected within a week, according to the Sun’s sources.

The Raptors will be celebrating their 20th anniversary season in 2016.

Cleveland was the other serious bidder for the 2016 game, the Sun reported. The 2014 game will be played in February in New Orleans.

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