Rajon Rondo suffered a “significant” injury while practicing with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, according to a report from Dave McMenamin and Malika Andrews of ESPN.
Lakers guard Rajon Rondo suffered a "significant" hand injury during practice on Sunday evening, sources told me and @malika_andrews. Rondo, 34, underwent medical evaluation on his hand and thumb, sources said, and the severity of the injury should be known Monday morning— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 13, 2020
UPDATE: Rondo will undergo surgery this week to repair a fractured right thumb, according Mike Trudel of Lakers.com. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
Rajon Rondo sustained a fracture to his right thumb during Sunday evening’s practice in Orlando. He will undergo surgery to repair the fracture this week and is expected to return to full basketball activities in 6 to 8 weeks.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) July 13, 2020
This isn’t the first time Rondo has dealt with hand injuries during his time with the Lakers. In November of 2018, Rondo suffered a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand. Then, in January he injured his finger.
However, his history of hand injuries didn’t start in Los Angeles.
Rondo has a lengthy history of hand & wrist injuries including fractures of his left 5th metacarpal & his right thumb & 3rd metacarpal. He suffered a non-displaced volar plate avulsion fracture of his right ring finger earlier this year. https://t.co/9eSlidhUhx— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) July 13, 2020
Rondo has averaged 7.1 points and 5 assists through 48 appearances for the Lakers this season, and averaged 20.5 minutes per game.
Rondo’s injury is obviously a huge blow for the Lakers, who are already missing their starting point guard, Avery Bradley. That’s true even when you take into account that Rondo has been a net negative for the Lakers this season.
The good news is that, if the initial timeline holds true, Rondo could be back in time for a Western Conference Finals series. The Lakers are also as prepared as they can be for the situation because their recent signings, J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters. The Lakers are not allowed to replace Rondo, and would still be unable to do so if they cut him, so they will just have to wait on his return.
If the Lakers waived Rondo, they would not be able to replace him. Not a solution https://t.co/RJuQcPjuR1— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) July 13, 2020
If a player decides to leave the bubble because of personal reasons, can replace. That or virus related. Not injury... https://t.co/y30jOp0OVe— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) July 13, 2020
Smith and Waiters’ skill sets couldn’t be any more different than Rondo’s, but they can play spot minutes at the point guard position — Waiters especially. The person with the biggest opportunity to make a difference, though, is Alex Caruso.
Caruso was already expected to step into a larger role with Bradley out for the remainder of the season, but now it’s a near-guarantee that he’ll play big minutes in the postseason, whether it’s with the starting five or the bench unit. Caruso has struggled whenever he’s been asked to be the lead guard for the Lakers this season, so it will be interesting to see how Vogel handles Caruso’s ball-handling duties. A Caruso-Waiters backcourt might be the solution for the second unit, and obviously the more minutes Caruso gets with James, the better.
Whatever direction Frank Vogel decides to go in, he has less than three weeks to figure it out, as the Lakers will restart their season with the LA Clippers on July 30.