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Rajon Rondo downgraded to questionable for Game 1 due to back spasms

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The status of Dion Waiters is also up in the air as the Lakers prepare for the Nuggets

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Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers released their injury report for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday and, as expected, Dion Waiters is questionable for Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. However, there’s one player that was unexpectedly added to the injury report: Rajon Rondo.

Rondo has played in the Lakers’ last five playoff games after missing the entirety of the seeding game schedule due to a thumb injury and the first round of the playoffs due to back spasms. In those five games, Rondo has lived up to the “Playoff Rondo” hype and averaged 10.6 points per game on 51.2% shooting from the field, including 44.4% shooting from behind the arc, in addition 7 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2 steals per game.

Rondo was instrumental to the Lakers’ success in the second round, particularly in Game 3, where he exploded for 21 points and 9 rebounds. Unfortunately, the possibility of Rondo missing yet another playoff game arose on Thursday, as the Lakers have listed him as questionable with back spasms. He previously wasn’t listed on the injury report.

Rondo has proven that he’s willing to play through injury in his brief time with the Lakers and one can safely assume that his desire to do so only grows in the playoffs. But while Rondo might be eager to play, the training staff may err on the side of caution considering his age and injury history.

If Rondo doesn’t play, the second until will probably look similar to the way it looked before Rondo returned to the lineup earlier this month, with Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma sharing ball-handling duties. Talen Horton-Tucker could also see some playing time if Rondo doesn’t play. Horton-Tucker averaged 8.5 minutes per game though two games in the second round.

Frank Vogel will give an update on his players’ statuses closer to tip-off on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.

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