Like the rest of the 22 teams in Orlando for the NBA’s restart, the Los Angeles Lakers have begun practicing again as they hope to regain the form that made them the top team in the Western Conference prior to the hiatus.
At the core, it’s about LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing at the MVP and DPOY caliber they were respectively when at their peak this season, but there’s ample pressure on their supporting cast to step up and fill the necessary roles around them. With Avery Bradley opting out of the restart, the Lakers backcourt figured to rely heavily on the efforts of Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso to run the offense, with new signings J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters capable of filling in minutes at the two-guard spot but unlikely to take on major roles.
On Sunday, that plan may have been changed when Rondo reportedly suffered a “significant” hand injury, and will be evaluated further on Monday, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Malika Andrews.
Lakers guard Rajon Rondo suffered a "significant" hand injury during practice on Sunday evening, sources told me and @malika_andrews. Rondo, 34, underwent medical evaluation on his hand and thumb, sources said, and the severity of the injury should be known Monday morning
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 13, 2020
Shortly after the initial report emerged, Mike Trudell of the Lakers confirmed the injury news and provided details, noting he suffered a broken thumb that will require surgery and keep him out 6-8 weeks.
Rajon Rondo sustained a fracture to his right thumb during Sunday evening’s practice in Orlando. He will undergo surgery to repair the fracture this week and is expected to return to full basketball activities in 6 to 8 weeks.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) July 13, 2020
Rondo being out for up to two months will be a big blow to the Lakers backcourt depth. Caruso will surely step into the starting lineup and likely need to play big minutes, and their newly signed reserves will be needed to play more often come playoff time than would’ve been originally planned. The timetable for a return would bring Rondo back possibly in late August or early September, meaning he could rejoin the team for the conference semifinals or conference finals.