Rajon Rondo is set to rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers soon. After leaving the bubble to have surgery on his fractured thumb and working out with Lakers senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis in Orlando (outside the NBA bubble) for the last several weeks, Rondo will re-enter Disney World tonight. He will get to reunite with his teammates after a four-day quarantine, according to head coach Frank Vogel.
When Vogel was asked by a reporter whether or not Rondo had any “special assignments” during his time in isolation until he clears the league’s coronavirus protocols, you could almost see a lightbulb appear over the coach’s head.
“Not yet, but you just gave me an idea. I’m sure we’ll come up with something creative,” Vogel said with a smile. “He’ll just continue to be an honorary assistant coach like he’s been for the last four weeks in all of our meetings.”
That will presumably continue even when Rondo re-enters the bubble, because his original injury timeline had him slated to miss 6-8 weeks. It has only been a little under five weeks since Rondo hurt himself, although he is at the very least getting back into the bubble sooner than previously expected.
Chris Haynes of TNT had previously said that the Lakers were hoping to have Rondo back with their group in the first round, but as long as he doesn’t have any positive tests before his quarantine is over, he should get to be with his teammates before they begin their first playoff series.
Rondo’s value on the court has been the source of a ton of debate throughout the season, but it’s been impossible not to notice that something has been... off... with this team since shortly after he departed. Is that coincidental, due to Rondo leaving just before the Lakers locked up the top seed and had little to play for? Or is he that key to this team’s chemistry this season? If the Lakers start to look like themselves again right after he comes back, we may have our answer.
Whether he can help this team on the court, though, is another matter entirely. But for that theory to get resolved, we’ll probably have to wait a few weeks. Today just brings us slightly closer to that question resurfacing once again.