The Los Angeles Lakers have upgraded Rajon Rondo’s availability for Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers to questionable after he did full-court work at practice on Wednesday. Rondo was previously listed as doubtful.
Rondo has yet to make an appearance for the Lakers in Orlando due to a fractured right thumb he suffered in July. Rondo underwent surgery to repair the fracture on July 16 and was medically cleared to play on Monday, but he was inactive in the Lakers’ postseason opener on Tuesday.
After practice on Wednesday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Rondo’s status for Game 2 is still up in the air, but that Rondo’s getting close to returning to the floor.
“Rondo’s working really hard to get back and we’ll have him back when he’s ready, not before,” Vogel said. “We’re listing him as questionable, which, by definition, mean’s he’s 50/50, so we’ll see how he responds to today’s work.”
Rondo, a career 31.6% percent 3-point shooter, probably won’t help the Lakers with their shooting woes, but he can help them create better opportunities for them out of the pick and roll. For all of Rondo’s faults, he’s still a capable ball-handler and playmaker, which is something the Lakers have lacked outside of LeBron James.
“Any time you have somebody that has the ability to create like Rondo does, it helps your offense,” Vogel said. “You know, obviously, LeBron’s pretty good too, so we’re getting some good looks, but certainly Rondo would help everything we do.”
Rondo also has the experience of going head-to-head with Damian Lillard in a playoff series, so he could end up being more valuable in this series than he’s been all season. Rondo has averaged 7.1 points on 41.8% shooting from the field, including 32.8% shooting from behind the arc, in 48 appearances for the Lakers this season. He’s also averaged 5 assists and 3 rebounds per game while averaging 20.5 minutes per game.
The Lakers and Trail Blazers will tip-off at 6 p.m. on PT on Thursday on ESPN.