Per a statement from the Lakers that was cited by ESPN, Rondo is expected to be cleared for full basketball activities in about six to eight weeks and is scheduled to undergo surgery on his fractured thumb later this week.
The news on Rondo came just days after the Lakers flew to Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, ahead of the scheduled resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season on July 30. The report did not provide any specifics on how the 34-year-old got injured, but as SB Nation‘s Silver Screen and Roll separately noted, the team will not be able to replace him with a free-agent signing as a result of the timing of his injury.
This isn’t the first time that Rondo has gone down with a similar injury since signing with the Lakers as a free agent in the summer of 2018. The veteran point guard had undergone surgery twice during the 2018-19 season, including one on a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand in November 2018 and another on a torn ligament in his right ring finger in January 2019.
Much like last season, Rondo has also missed some time due to injuries in the 2019-20 campaign, though he has remained a key part of the Lakers’ rotation as a reserve point guard. In 48 games this season, he has tallied averages of 7.1 points, three rebounds, and five assists while shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from three-point range, according to his Basketball-Reference player page.
Given the aforementioned injury timeline, it’s not clear whether Rondo will be able to suit up for Los Angeles during the playoffs. Losing him, however, deprives the Lakers of some much-needed backcourt depth. The team made the trip to Orlando without one of their starting guards as Avery Bradley opted out of the season restart because of family concerns, but had signed veteran free agent J.R. Smith earlier this month for the rest of the 2019-20 season as his potential replacement.
In addition, Silver Screen and Roll suggested that Rondo’s injury could allow reserve point guard Alex Caruso to play an even larger role than the one he was expected to play due to Bradley’s absence. The outlet also speculated that Smith and Dion Waiters — who has yet to suit up for Los Angeles since signing in March — could see “spot minutes” at the point despite being natural shooting guards.