The Los Angeles Lakers will be without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram when they enter the ring for round two against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, head coach Luke Walton announced after practice on Wednesday.
Rondo was making rapid progress toward a return earlier this month, but he had a minor setback on his road to recovery on Sunday, when he had to have fluid drained from his right hand. As a result, he’ll be out at least a few more days, but Walton said there’s a chance he’ll join the Lakers on the road if things go well.
“He’s going to meet with the doctor again tomorrow and then we’ll go from there, depending on what they say,” Walton said. “If it’s a good appointment and things are good then yeah, there is a chance he meets us out on the road.”
Rondo has missed the last 13 games for the Lakers. They’ve gone 9-4 during that time.
Walton also left the door open on Ingram returning during the road trip after he is re-evaluated on Saturday. Ingram isn’t traveling with the team for now because of the risk of swelling in his ankle.
“We’ll make that decision when it comes Saturday,” Walton said. “A lot of that is up to the medical staff.”
Ingram suffered a sprained ankle against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 5. He’s missed the last three games because of it.
Rondo and Ingram each bring something different to the table, but one thing they provide on a consistent basis that the Lakers have been lacking in their absence is playmaking. The Lakers have no shortage of playmaking in the first unit with Lonzo Ball and LeBron James, but they’ve struggled to find a floor general in the second unit with both Rondo and Ingram out.
They’ve managed to string together wins without them, but the losses they’ve accumulated could have reasonably been avoided if they were both healthy. Let’s hope the two aren’t sidelined much longer.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.