Rajon Rondo rejoined the Celtics bench last night for the first time since his Feb. 12 ACL surgery, and was told to suppress his normal urge to interrupt timeouts.

“I told him to just be nice today, and he was,” said coach Doc Rivers, who drew a connection between the Celts’ spirited play in the 118-107 win over the Hawks and Rondo’s return.

“He told us today he was coming in, and it was good to have him back around,” said Rivers. “He’s moving OK. Having gone through that experience, we sat and talked about a lot of the stuff you have to go through. . . . I don’t care who you are, especially if you’re on a team sport, I think these types of injuries are very lonely. Very hard. Because rehab is all by yourself with some stranger. And you’re away from your team. Just brutal rehab. That’s what it is.”

Rondo was also introduced to a lot of new faces.

“It’s good to get him around the guys, to see some of his new teammates,” said captain Paul Pierce. “Who knows? A lot of these guys might be here for him next year. It’s good for him to get acquainted with them. He’s done his surgery, he seems to be in good spirits, so it’s good to see him.”