Even though he couldn’t participate in any of the games, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo accompanied his team during its latest road trip to Orlando, Miami and Cleveland.
Rondo broke his hand Nov. 14 in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers. He spoke Friday morning for the first time since suffering the injury and said his recovery was going well.
“I think it was a rebound,” Rondo said, when asked how he suffered the injury. “I haven’t really looked at it. It happened. I wanted to get surgery over quickly and get better.”
Rondo had surgery the day after suffering the injury and the Lakers said he had a timetable of four to five weeks, though those injuries often heal more quickly.
“It’s not that bad an injury as far as being out 12 to 13 months … six weeks is nothing compared to what I’ve been through,” Rondo said.
During his absence from the court, Rondo has been another voice to help his teammates, even sometimes appearing in the huddle with coaches during their game in Miami.
“Nothing that I wasn’t doing … before,” Rondo said of his role.
“I am still a voice on the sideline whether I was in the game or not playing. ... I just don’t have a uniform on, that’s the only thing that’s different.”
Hard to keep out
When the Lakers prepared for Summer League last summer, they made clear Josh Hart wasn’t going to play more than one game. Hart had other ideas and instead played the whole tournament.
It’s difficult to keep Hart off the court if he’s able.
So it was no surprise on Friday, two days after spraining his ankle against the Cavaliers, that Hart was available to play.
He even played on Wednesday night after suffering the injury.
“I tried to put him in on defense late and he couldn’t go back in late in that game,” Coach Luke Walton said. “He played on it for a little bit but he couldn’t go back in late. He treated it on the court, tested it ... [to] see how he feels.”
The Lakers’ individual defensive statistics might not be that impressive, but as they’ve learned how to play together, they’ve improved throughout the season as a defensive team.
“That’s what team defense is about,” Walton said. “That’s why we continue to work on our individual defense but we also are aware of our strengths and weaknesses.
“It’s a team’s defensive ... responsibility, to cover for each other when guys are moving on a screen defensively. You are stronger than your individual parts.”
Walton believes in the Lakers’ potential to be a strong defensive team because of their length and versatility.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli