With his broken right hand dressed in a splint, Rajon Rondo was on the practice court Thursday offering instructions and advice to the Lakers’ second unit even though he knew he was going to be having surgery to repair the third metacarpal of his right hand.
The Lakers said that Rondo had a successful procedure Thursday night and is expected to be sidelined four to five weeks while recovering from an injury suffered in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
“We have to shake it off,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Of course you’re always aware of the reality of what’s going on. We don’t act like it didn’t happen, but we acknowledge it and we move forward.
“As a group, we’ll figure out what rotations are working the best, who’s handling certain responsibilities giving our team the best shot of winning. And we said it earlier in the season, and we’ll say it again, it’s adversity. How do we respond? And if we respond the right way, we’re stronger when we get to the other side of it. And it won’t be the last time this season we have some.”
Rondo and Lonzo Ball have split the minutes almost equally at point guard, with Rondo averaging 25.3 minutes a game and Ball 26.1.
Ball knows he’ll see a dramatic uptick in his playing time during Rondo’s absence.
“I just got to step up, play some more minutes,” Ball said. “Distribute the ball the best way I can, push the pace and starting [with] defense.”
Walton can use LeBron James, Brandon Ingram and Lance Stephenson as backup point guards while Rondo is sidelined.
The multifaceted Ingram started 12 games last season when Ball was sidelined because of an injury.
Walton said that experience can help Ingram now with the second unit.
“Last year, he was great with it,” Walton said. “It’s a new group. That group has kind of gotten in a nice rhythm of being able to run certain sets and knowing how to play out of it, and Rondo kind of orchestrating that whole deal. It’ll be a little different from that. From BI’s experience last year, but knowing that he can do that I think is something that will make it easier without Rondo this time around.”
As the Lakers were preparing for life without Rondo, he was “talking a lot” to his teammates and involved in the practice session.
“We had Brandon and some of those second-unit guys over here going through 5-on-0, and Rondo came in, got involved, was talking about all the different plays and different options that he sees out there,” Walton said. “So, he had a little splint on his hand, but he was still out there being involved and helping our group get better.”
Walton said that James was held out of practice so he could get treatment and rest for the upcoming three-game trip to Orlando, Miami and Cleveland. Walton also said that Josh Hart sat out practice because he was getting treatment.