After Avery Bradley decided to opt out, the Los Angeles Lakers were dealt another blow when Rajon Rondo fractured his thumb during practice, sidelining him for six to eight weeks.
Rondo was reportedly looking much younger during individual workouts and practices prior to the team arriving in the Walt Disney World bubble, and his absence has been felt throughout seeding games.
Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook have stepped up in his place, but Los Angeles sorely misses his playmaking ability, particularly in the halfcourt. Rondo has been rehabbing and recently arrived to Florida where he will say outside of the bubble as he recuperates.
He will be required to submit negative tests while he is outside and — assuming good results –will enter the bubble and begin the league-mandated quarantine. According to Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers are hopeful he can make it back in time for the first round of the playoffs:
“Rajon Rondo arrived in Orlando this week but he is outside the bubble. He is working diligently to get back. Sources have told me that the Lakers are hopeful that if Rondo continues rehab without any setbacks, that he will possibly be able to re-enter the bubble at some point in the first round of the playoffs. As for now, sources say he’s working out with Kurt Rambis, the Lakers’ senior basketball advisor.”
The first round of the postseason is scheduled to begin on Aug. 17, which is about a month after Rondo had surgery on his fractured right thumb. If he is still on track with his six-to-eight week recovery period, the veteran could conceivably play in the second round assuming the Lakers take care of business against whoever the eight seed is.
“Playoff Rondo” would be a welcomed addition to the purple and gold when the games start to count, so hopefully rest of his rehab goes smoothly.
Frank Vogel experimenting with different ball handlers
In the Lakers’ last three losses, it was apparent how poorly the team executes their halfcourt offense with LeBron James off the floor.
Despite his shortcomings, Rondo at least provided a stabilizing presence on the floor as he was able to get the team into their sets and create easy scoring opportunities in transition.
Head coach Frank Vogel relied heavily on Rondo to get the rest of the roster involved but has been looking at different players to fill the playmaking void.
“We’ve got to get Kuz and A.D. involved. You see those two guys are playing in a small-ball lineup with Rondo is going to be really good for us. Obviously ‘Do is out, so we’re looking at a lot of different ball handlers with that group,” Vogel said.
“We become a spread pick-and-roll team, we have matchups if we want to go inside with A.D. Some of that stuff has been very effective for us.”
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