Lakers’ Rajon Rondo breaks his right hand in win over Trail Blazers
Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo broke his right hand during a 126-117 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, the team announced after the game.
Lakers coach Luke Walton said Rondo would be out “for at least two weeks” and possibly longer once the team gives the backup point guard a full evaluation, which likely would include an MRI exam on Thursday.
Rondo fractured the third metacarpal bone in his hand, but he wasn’t wearing a cast when he came out of the shower after the game.
Rondo appeared to injure his hand during the fourth quarter while trying to swipe the basketball away from Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic and struck his hand on the court.
Rondo left the game for good with 5 minutes and 20 seconds left, having been scoreless.
Walton said Rondo was a stabilizing force for the Lakers’ second unit, making sure that group with Josh Hart, Tyson Chandler, Lance Stephenson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was in sync.
“He’s done an incredible job of getting that second group playing at a really nice rhythm for us,” Walton said. “And the way he orchestrates a unit, getting guys shots, recognizing when players haven’t had a shot in a while.
“Him and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] started to build a nice little chemistry of dribble in transition or flipping it to Kenny [Caldwell-Pope] coming off for a shot.
“I think that whole group really counts on his playmaking and his leadership, so that’s where he’ll be missed the most. But the way we make up for it. ... It’s obviously not another Rondo to just put out there to do that stuff. So it’s one of those things where as a group and as a team we all will have to do a little more to make up for it.”
It’ll probably mean more minutes for starting point guard Lonzo Ball, who played 32:06 and had 11 points against Portland.
But the Lakers have plenty of ball handlers to play the backup point guard role, starting with LeBron James and Brandon Ingram.
“It’s tough. He’s one of our captains, one of our leaders,” said James, who scored 44 points to move past Wilt Chamberlain into fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 31,425 points, of Rondo. “I heard we got great surgeons here in L.A., so get it right, start his rehab as fast as possible to 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.”
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