"I don't think he's close," Ainge said. "Meaning, I don't think (his return is) going to happen the next few weeks. We're not on pins and needles about it. We're being very cautious with Rondo. I think he's still got a little bit of a limp, his strength is not quite there, but he is making progress. We're not close."
Rondo tore an ACL in February and has been rehabbing the knee. He's expected to meet with surgeon Dr. James Andrews within the next two weeks.
"He's just not himself yet, but he's getting there and he's pushing himself to get there," Ainge said. "Listen, we're going to be very cautious with him and make sure he's right before he comes back. There's just a little bit of a limp still. He's gotta get that strength back in the knee up to 100 percent before they'll let him back out on the court."
A possible return date for Rondo is sometime after Jan. 1. Without him, the Celtics are 8-12 but leading the the Atlantic Division standings by a half-game over the Philadelphia 76ers entering Thursday night's games.