Lakers preparing to play without Rondo
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rajon Rondo had surgery Thursday on his broken right hand, and the Los Angeles Lakers plan to use a variety of strategies to replace the veteran point guard while he heals.
Los Angeles will be without Rondo for four to five weeks after he was injured in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ fourth straight win, 126-117 over Portland on Wednesday night. Rondo apparently hurt his hand while making a steal, but he kept playing for several more minutes before coming out of the game.
Coach Luke Walton praised Rondo’s leadership and two-way contributions after the Lakers’ final practice before heading out on a three-game road trip. Although he has played only 11 games for LA, Rondo is already a key component of the revamped club.
“Obviously we can’t replace what Rondo does for our team and how important he is to our team, but we’re not going to make excuses,” Walton said. “That’s not who we are as a group. We’re going to step up, and guys are going to pick up the slack and add to their responsibility.”
Rondo is averaging 8.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in his first season with the Lakers. He has been the leader of Los Angeles’ second unit while also serving as a valuable coach on the floor with his younger, less-familiar teammates, according to Walton.
The injury comes at an inopportune time for the Lakers (8-6), who are off to their best 14-game start since 2011-12.