The Lakers medical staff has cleared Rajon Rondo to participate in full-contact practices as he recovers from hand surgery last month.
The team does not have an official practice scheduled for Friday in Houston, and will play the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
Rondo tore a ligament in his right ring finger on Dec. 25 in Oakland and had surgery to repair the injury three days later. It was the second surgery he had on that hand this year. He also broke the third metacarpal bone on his right hand on Nov. 14 and had surgery to repair that injury on Nov. 15.
Both injuries were given a four- to five-week timetable. Rondo returned from his first surgery on Dec. 21 and only played in three games.
So far this season, Rondo has only played in 14 games.
The Lakers have missed Rondo’s leadership on and off the court, especially with LeBron James out for the past three weeks with a left groin strain. With Rondo in the game after James suffered his injury on Christmas, the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors. Without James and Rondo, they have gone 5-7, including a win over the talented Oklahoma City Thunder and a loss to the bottom-dwelling Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since his most recent surgery, Rondo has been itching to return. But the Lakers have been exceedingly cautious with him. They’ve had to step in when he tried to take part in shooting competitions before he was ready. He wasn’t allowed to travel with the team for the first two weeks and only resumed traveling on Wednesday when they flew to Oklahoma City.
On Thursday morning after shootaround, Rondo played a game of two-on-two against Svi Mykhailiuk and Moe Wagner with Ivica Zubac as his teammate. At one point, frustrated by Rondo’s success, Wagner exclaimed, “He has one hand!”