When the Los Angeles Lakers sent out their game notes to the media on the morning of their season-opener against the LA Clippers, Rajon Rondo was listed as “questionable.” It would appear that in the time between those notes and shootaround happening, head coach Frank Vogel got a somewhat positive update, as Rondo has been upgraded to a game-time decision, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:
Vogel said Rajon Rondo (sore calf) will be a game time decision.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 22, 2019
Rondo missed the final two Lakers preseason games, and averaged 8.7 points, 3.3 assists and 3 turnovers during his three games played as part of the team’s exhibition slate.
While those averages aren’t eye-popping — or at least not in a good way — Vogel had previously said that Rondo was in contention for a starting role on the team. Vogel still (at least publicly) has not rule Rondo out as a starter, as he said he’d wait until closer to the game to reveal his starters for the opener:
Frank Vogel is opting to wait to share his starting line up until before the game tonight; We know he went with Bradley-Green-LeBron-AD-McGee in the 1st and 5th preseason games, and they were impressive.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 22, 2019
Vogel not giving up his starters at shootaround is hardly surprising, even if it seems unlikely he hasn’t already made his decision. The team hasn’t played a game yet, and there is little benefit in giving the Clippers a few extra hours to gameplan around whichever starters he’ll eventually choose. It’s also possible he still wants a little bit more time to think (or to see if Rondo can play) before making a final decision.
Expect to learn whether Rondo is playing and who Vogel plans to start a little closer to 6:00 p.m. tonight, which is when Vogel will speak with the media pregame. The Lakers tip off against the Clippers at 7:30 p.m. PST, and the game will be televised locally on Spectrum Sportsnet and nationally on TNT.
UPDATE: As of a few hours before the game, it looks like Rondo will not start (or play at all).
Hearing Avery Bradley, Danny Green and JaVale McGee will join LeBron James and Anthony Davis in starting five for the Lakers tonight. Expectation early before the game was that Rajon Rondo (sore calf) likely will not play.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 23, 2019