When the Lakers first arrived in Orlando, the team was fully healthy and intact short of Avery Bradley who opted out of the season restart due to personal preference regarding COVID-19. That was quickly undone, as Rajon Rondo fractured his thumb in one of the first practices that the Lakers had since March. Rondo has had a history of hand injuries, with this being his latest one. He was taken out of the Orlando bubble to have surgery and rehab performed around his home.
Rondo arrived in the bubble around last Thursday, with promising news revolving around his health coming out as he was listed as “doubtful” for Game 1, a game that the Lakers dropped to the Trail Blazers, 100-93. This week is technically week six of his perceived six-to-eight week timetable for recovery, with the “doubtful” designation coming as a bit of a surprise. He is now one step closer to returning to the court with the most recent designation, as Rondo is listed as “questionable” for the Game 2 on Thursday (h/t to Christian Rivas and Silver Screen & Roll for reporting). Frank Vogel had this to say about Rondo after the team’s practice on Wednesday:
“Rondo’s working really hard to get back and we’ll have him back when he’s ready, not before. 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.”
This lends credibility to the idea that if he was unable to be active for Game 2 on Thursday, there may be a good chance that he plays in Game 3 on Saturday. Although Rondo will not help the Lakers with their biggest problem at the moment (three-point shooting), he may help as a primary creator off the bench. LeBron James was in full creator mode in Game 1, breaking his playoff career record with 15 assists. Creating for his teammates may have affected how much LeBron wanted to score, only putting up 23 points in his Lakers playoff debut. LeBron may be able to focus more on scoring for the Lakers if Rondo is around, an area they desperately need help in so far in the bubble.