For much of the last four or five years, Rajon Rondo has lived on his reputation as a high-end point guard without actually playing like one. However, the now 31-year-old has been a key cog for the Chicago Bulls as the team snatched a (very) unexpected 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics, as Rondo seemingly jumped into a time machine on both ends of the floor.
Unfortunately, that renaissance might be over for a while, as the Bulls announced on Friday morning that Rondo would be out “indefinitely” as a result of a right thumb fracture.
Rajon Rondo injured his right hand in Game 2 at Boston on Tuesday night. Rondo underwent a subsequent exam and x-rays that confirmed a thumb fracture. Surgery is not required for this injury, and he is out indefinitely.
In the first two games of the series, Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 10.0 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting a respectable 42.3 percent from the field and his defensive impact was felt in the way he deterred Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas. With Rondo on the court (67 minutes) in the series, the Bulls are outscoring the Celtics by 14.5 points per 100 possessions. With the veteran on the bench (29 minutes), however, Boston has been able to make real strides in outscoring the Bulls by 5.4 points per 100 possessions.
In short, Jimmy Butler’s team has been much more effective with Rondo in the lineup over the small sample of the playoffs and it will be up to the likes of Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant to take over the mantle at point guard. Some of Rondo’s offensive workload will almost certainly be assumed by Butler in an on-ball fashion but, defensively, the quick ascent of Rondo has been crucial and his rebounding prowess has always been an X-factor, especially against a team that has a weakness in that area like Boston does.
It remains to be seen just how long “indefinitely” means in this case, but we can’t assume that Rajon Rondo will be back again in this first round series and, given the way his recent career has gone, it feels quite strange that his absence will matter as much as it will.