Rajon Rondo Joins Lakers on NBA Campus Following Hand Injury, Begins Quarantine

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo dribbles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 112-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has entered the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, after missing time with a fractured right thumb.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Rondo will now begin a four-day quarantine before rejoining the team.

Rondo suffered the injury during practice in July and has yet to appear in a game for the Lakers since the 2019-20 season resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With a record of 52-18, the Lakers have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They will play their final regular-season game Thursday against the Sacramento Kings.

In the first round of the playoffs, which will begin Aug. 17, the Lakers will face the winner of the eighth-seed play-in series. Two of the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns will play for the right to be the No. 8 seed.

Prior to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 halting the NBA season for nearly five months, the 34-year-old Rondo was a solid bench contributor for the Lakers. In 48 games, including three starts, Rondo was averaging 7.1 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 20.5 minutes.

Assuming the four-time All-Star, four-time NBA All-Defensive selection and three-time NBA assists champion is placed on the active roster and given an opportunity to play during the postseason, he will give L.A. a much-needed secondary ball-handler.

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LeBron James dominates the ball for the starting unit, while Dion Waiters, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Quinn Cook have taken a by-committee approach behind him in Rondo's absence.

Rondo gives the Lakers a clear leader in the backcourt on the second unit, which is a big deal for a team that is expected to vie for a championship. Having won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, he knows what it takes to go the distance, and it can't hurt to have a 14-year veteran like him available off the bench.

The Lakers' playoff success will ultimately hinge on the play of LeBron and Anthony Davis, but secondary players such as Rondo will still need to contribute for L.A. to deliver a championship.