Update: The Lakers announced that Rondo had successful surgery on his broken right hand on Thursday, and that he will miss 4-5 weeks. Original story follows.
The Los Angeles Lakers got their fourth win in a row by beating the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, but they lost something else. Head coach Luke Walton said the Lakers will be missing Rajon Rondo for a while after he broke the third metacarpal in his right hand against the Blazers.
“Rondo broke his hand,” Walton said. “He’ll be out for at least a few weeks.”
Walton said he thought the injury happened on the play when Rondo tried to steal the ball from Jusuf Nurkic on a fast break. The Lakers got the ball, but the play will cost them.
“He hit his hand on the floor is what I was told, I think when they went to steal that ball,” Walton said.
Rondo is averaging 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 25.2 minutes per game this season, and according to NBA.com is using 16.5 percent of the Lakers’ possessions while he’s on the floor, meaning the Lakers have a sizable role to fill in their rotation now.
“He’s done an incredible job to get that second group into a real nice rhythm and finding shots for his teammates,” Walton said.
Until Rondo gets back, Lonzo Ball will likely see an increase in minutes individually, and this could also mean that the team will call up Alex Caruso — who is currently on assignment with the South Bay Lakers — from the G League. Caruso is on a two-way contract, meaning he can spend up to 45 days with the Lakers before he must be signed to a full roster spot or sent back down to the G League until the end of South Bay’s regular season.
One other option the Lakers might also go to until Rondo returns could be an unorthodox one they tried a bit last season; point Brandon Ingram, as our own Laker Film Room pointed out on Twitter:
I’m hoping we see a lot of PG Ingram in Rondo’s absence.— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) November 15, 2018
Whatever the Lakers do, they’ll have to figure something out to replace a key piece of their rotation on the fly. Even with an easier schedule for the next few games, this could derail their momentum a bit, and it will be interesting to see how Walton adjusts.
All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.