Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo is expected to miss six to eight weeks after suffering a fractured right thumb, an injury that will require surgery.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Malika Andrews initially reported Rondo had suffered a “significant” hand injury during practice Sunday evening, and the team later revealed the severity of the injury.
Rondo doesn’t generate much attention while playing for the star-studded Lakers, but he’s a key piece of the team’s structure. Not only does he take pressure off LeBron James in terms of running the offense, but he’s also a locker-room leader and battle-tested veteran, a role that will be more important in the playoffs.
The 34-year-old University of Kentucky product missed just 12 regular-season games over his first four NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics. Injuries have consistently plagued him since the 2010-11 campaign, however, as he’s made over 70 appearances just once over the past 10 years.
Most recently, the point guard was sidelined by a finger fracture in mid-January. His latest setback comes as the NBA is preparing to restart the 2019-20 season, which has been halted for over four months by the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles will already be without Avery Bradley, who previously opted out of the restart because of coronavirus concerns. The Lakers have, however, added veterans JR Smith and Dion Waiters to the roster as they prepare for their first postseason appearance since 2013.
James will likely once again run the offense on a near-universal basis with Rondo sidelined. Quinn Cook should see the biggest uptick in playing time as part of the backcourt rotation, and Alex Caruso is another option to see more minutes.
The Lakers are on cruise control toward the playoffs, and they are among the league’s select group of championship contenders. In turn, they figure to play it safe with the veteran players if they get banged up during the remainder of the regular season.
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