During a Thursday morning interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he does not anticipate Rajon Rondo returning by the end of November.

"He's making great progress. I don't have a return date for him but I really like what I see in his attitude and his effort. He's putting in the time to get better and he's making steady progress," said Ainge. "I'm not sure, I don't see anything happening by the end of this month. I'm just not sure."

Despite Jordan Crawford's emergence as a seemingly capable point guard, Rondo's return should obviously boost Boston's level of competitiveness. But certainly he should take his time coming back. Not because I necessarily think the Celtics should actively try to tank, but because there's no need to rush a return -- from a winning standpoint, a seventh or eigth seed is probably the best-case scenario. (Or maybe the Celtics will battle Philadelphia for Atlantic Division supremacy, which would be amazing except for poor Sam Hinkie.)

Anyway, Rondo has already been cleared for 1-on-1 action, but still awaits word for when he can participate in full-court play. The point guard clearly has an itch to return -- last week, Ainge told the Boston Herald that Rondo played some 3-on-3 before getting the go-ahead to do so.