Source: Lakers expect Rajon Rondo to be out 3-5 weeks after breaking hand

ByOhm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin ESPN logo
Thursday, November 15, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- On the night when LeBron James reached a historic milestone, the Los Angeles Lakers learned upon arriving in the locker room that they had lost Rajon Rondo for the next several weeks because of a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand.

Lakers coach Luke Walton revealed the significant loss of the team's veteran backup point guard after Los Angeles' 126-117 win over the Blazers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Rondo will see a specialist Thursday to determine whether to opt for surgery, a team source told ESPN. The Lakers are operating under the assumption that Rondo could be out three to five weeks, depending on the decision to undergo surgery and the recovery time, the source said.

Rondo declined to talk about the injury as he left the arena with a wrap around his shooting hand.

"I'm not talking about it," he said.

Walton said he believed Rondo suffered the fracture while making a steal in the fourth quarter off Jusuf Nurkic with 8:24 left. Rondo did not leave the game until the 5:20 mark.

"He hit his hand on the floor when he went to steal that ball," Walton said. "They [the medical staff] are getting all the details. I just know he will be out for a few weeks."

The injury dampened a night when James passed Wilt Chamberlain for fifth on the all-time scoring list while recording 44 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Much of the team did not know Rondo had fractured his hand until returning to the locker room after the Lakers had won their fourth straight game.

"It's tough," James said. "He's one of our captains, one of our leaders. I heard we got great surgeons here in L.A., so get right to it, start his rehab as fast as possible, get going. Next man up. Next man up. I know Rondo hates the fact of what he's going through right now, but we all have to pick him up in his absence."

Rondo has played like the Lakers' best point guard off the bench at times this season. He missed three games earlier after being suspended for a fight with the Houston Rockets' Chris Paul in the second game of the season. But he helped stabilize the Lakers' second unit and finished some games for Walton. Rondo averaged 9.3 points, 6.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals before Wednesday.

Rondo has been almost like an extra assistant coach, constantly in the ears of the Lakers' young developing players and even organizing film sessions for the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.

"He's a true leader," said Ball, who has started the past 12 games and is looking at an uptick in minutes with Rondo out. "A coach on the floor. Knows all the plays. Knows where everybody is supposed to be. So it's going to be tough having him out. But we wish him a speedy recovery and we can't wait to have him back.

"He's still going to be with the team a lot so he's going to be talking to us, so, definitely leadership will still be here."

Walton could opt to use Ingram for some minutes at backup point guard as well. Ingram thrived at point guard as a playmaker last season when Ball was injured.

"He's done an incredible job of kind of getting that second group playing at a really nice rhythm for us," Walton said of Rondo. "And the way he orchestrates a unit and getting guys shots. ... I think that whole group really counts on his playmaking and leadership.

"That is where he will be missed the most. But the way we make up for it, there's obviously not another Rondo to put out there to do that stuff but it is one of those things where as a group, as a team, we all have to do a little more to make up for it."

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