Rajon Rondo gave his strongest indication yet Thursday evening that he is close to returning to the Celtics, perhaps within a few weeks.

Before the Celtics faced the Bulls and following a pregame workout, Rondo said he is open to a rehabilitation stint with Maine of the NBA Development League and is getting “pretty close” after missing nearly a year with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.

“I’m better than last week when I talked to you guys,” he said, referring to his media session Dec. 22. “I’m still getting my endurance but I’m getting pretty close, feeling good, feeling better.”

Rondo, who has traveled with the team and was cleared to practice three weeks ago, has been working out arduously to approach game shape, saying he does not want to return prematurely and suffer a setback.

“I don’t want to go out there and get fatigued and cause another injury,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m ready to go and I’m in shape.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told the Globe on Monday that the organization had discussed sending Rondo to Maine for game action and practice time. Rondo had been mum about the possibility until Thursday. If Rondo does play with the Red Claws, it would likely be on the road. After Sunday, Maine hits the road for five games before returning to Portland on Jan. 18.

“That’s an idea, definitely,” Rondo said. “That’s more game-like speed with our schedule, the Celtics, we don’t get a chance to play a lot of pickup, so that might be a possibility. You just never know, I might just pop up and play. You guys won’t get the memo. You just have to catch me on YouTube or something. Each week I’m getting better so I just want to give it a test when I have a chance.”

When asked if he was truly open to playing in the D-League, Rondo said: “That’s what it’s for. I’ll probably be the first [NBA player] to [use it as rehab] but it doesn’t make a difference. I want to make sure I’m healthy and I handle it the right way. I don’t want my first time to come back out game-like to be the first time with the Celtics. I haven’t had a preseason. I haven’t had a training camp. Right now, this is my training camp.”

Rondo has spoken with Atlanta’s Lou Williams, who underwent ACL surgery a week before Rondo did in February and returned to action in mid-November.