Already down Avery Bradley, who opted out of the NBA restart, the Los Angeles Lakers additionally lost Rajon Rondo at least until some point in the first round of the playoffs. Rondo sustained a fractured right thumb in practice that required surgery.
His initial timetable, set from July 16, was pegged at six to eight weeks. Losing Rondo placed further strain on Lakers head coach Frank Vogel with respect to rotations and replacements at the guard positions.
Rondo’s on-court play has been hit or miss this season to say the least, but he is viewed as one of the leaders of this Lakers team. He has always been one of the smartest players in the league which has led to many wonder if coaching is in his future.
Vogel did allow Rondo to basically be part of the coaching staff as he was recovering from an injury earlier this season, and the Lakers coach hopes he can do the same this time around. Rondo left the NBA bubble for surgery and to begin his rehab process but there was an intention to keep him involved.
“Once we get to that point, we’ve been doing a lot with our outside-the-bubble staff: coaches, video guys, Kurt Rambis. Being able to observe practice over Zoom, be part of team and coaching staff meetings,” Vogel recently said. “I definitely will offer that type of insight or participation to Rajon if that’s something he’s interested in.”
Lakers teammate Danny Green believes the loss of Rondo is slightly lessened because of what he brings as a leader and teacher. “It’s a blow, but not as big of a blow because of how much he helps us on the sideline, coaching-wise,” Green added. “I know he’ll still be there to help coach and teach.
“It would be great to have him on the floor making plays and being that floor general. When he scores 10-plus points, you guys know the record for us. I know he’ll be on that sideline coaching his ass off and teaching us.”
The Lakers are a close-knit group and every player brings something different to the table. Rondo’s mind for the game is unlike anyone else and the fact that he can provide so much for the team even while injured is a blessing.
Rondo arriving in Florida before re-entering NBA bubble
Rondo is several weeks away from potentially returning, but the first step will be reuniting with the team at Walt Disney World. “He is definitely going to come back into the bubble very soon,” Vogel said.
“I’m not sure of the exact details but I think he’s making his way to Florida [Wednesday] and will spend a certain period of time outside of the bubble before he’s re-integrated inside the bubble. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure.
“I just know they’re dealing with the league office in terms of what the protocols are for re-entry. It’s really something our front office is handling more than I know all the details about.”
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