Despite being cleared for full contact practice, Rajon Rondo (much like his boss Danny Ainge) doesn’t envision himself playing in a game anytime soon.

Rondo, who insists that he has faith in his surgically-repaired right knee, says February is the more realistic target for his return.

Per the Boston Herald:

“It might be the end of January, late February,” Rondo said after watching the Celtics suffer through one of their worst performances with last night’s 106-79 loss to the Indiana Pacers. “I’m going to come back when I get my stamina.”

Asked if January, the nebulous time pegged by Celtics management, was a realistic goal, Rondo said, “No. I’ve had one practice — a pickup game, and that’s about it. My endurance is key. I don’t want to come back and not be 100 percent.

“It’s me being in shape as well. The worst thing is coming back and not being in shape, because you can risk injury. I want to be in basketball-condition shape. You can run all the sprints you want and get on a bike and do that conditioning, but after 10 or 11 months of not playing the game of basketball, it’s not easy to get back in shape just doing those things. You have to play basketball.”

“I have confidence in my knee,” he said. “I’m excited to be playing again. Right now it’s repetition, playing 5-on-5 basketball. The knee is fine. It’s not about falls. That’s part of my game. It’s just going up and down the court.”