Just as it seemed the Los Angeles Lakers had settled on a consistent lineup and rotations, they were thrown for a loop when Rajon Rondo suffered a broken right hand in the win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
He sustained the injury in the fourth quarter but remained on the court for a few more minutes, and several of Rondo’s teammates were surprised to learn of what occurred. Rondo underwent surgery to repair the fractured third metacarpal on his shooting hand.
The Lakers expect the veteran point guard to be sidelined four to five weeks. Head coach Luke Walton, Lonzo Ball, LeBron James and others have pointed to Rondo’s leadership and command of the bench group as the biggest voids needing to be filled.
While he may not be able to join them on the court, Walton said Rondo is hoping to reunite with the Lakers on their current road trip, per Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times:
“He was feeling some pain and then I talked to him again last night and he said he was already starting to feel much better, as far as just the pain level is concerned,” Walton said. “He’s dying to get out here and be with the guys. He’s meeting with some doctors in L.A., doing some things right now and he possibly will meet us on this trip.”
Walton confirmed earlier this week that Rondo would travel with the team once he was medically cleared to do so. He explained that would not be the case until doctors determined Rondo was not at risk of experiencing additional swelling that can be caused by air travel.
Prior to having the surgery, Rondo appeared to be in good spirits at practice. His hand in a splint, Rondo was on the court to help walk players through various sets.
“He was talking,” Walton said after the practice. “Surprise, surprise, he was talking a lot. He’s great. That’s one of the things that I love about coaching him is, we had Brandon and some of those second-unit guys going through 5-on-0 and Rondo came in, got involved, was talking about all the different plays, different options that he sees while he’s out there.”
Rondo’s presence could aid Ball, who revealed he’s asked him to provide motivation by way of yelling and being critical. Ball missed all five field goal attempts, had 5 rebounds and 4 assists but also 4 turnovers in a loss to the Orlando Magic.