The Los Angeles Lakers have been absolutely plagued with injuries all season long, and one of the prime examples of it has been Rajon Rondo. Entering Friday, he has played in just 27 of the Lakers’ 61 games due to two separate hand surgeries.
In the last couple games, Rondo has simply looked slow, out of sorts, and just horrible defensively. Rondo was never an elite defender, but he was especially bad in back-to-back losses to the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies.
Despite this, he was moved into the starting lineup, which came after a serious conversation with head coach Luke Walton.
After setting a season high with 16 assists, Rondo revealed he had been playing through back discomfort coming out of the All-Star break, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
He said he had been suffering from back pain for about four days, and he had difficulty getting out of bed. “I think I slept on a bad bed in Jamaica,” Rondo told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne about what slowed the veteran point guard down the past few games.
Although having serious back pain might be enough to bench somebody for a little bit of time, with Lonzo Ball already out indefinitely, the Lakers cannot afford to lose Rondo. Having a rotation that includes not one true point guard would likely cause serious issues for the team.
Rondo, with the move back into the starting lineup, could be completely fine now, meaning his defense will return to an acceptable level. If that is the case, then the Lakers may stick with their new small-ball starting lineup of Rondo, Brandon Ingram, Reggie Bullock, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma.
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