Lakers News: Rajon Rondo Cleared from Thumb Injury; 'Unlikely' to Play in Game 1

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 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 head coach Frank Vogel said Monday that Rajon Rondo has been medically cleared to play but is "unlikely" to appear in Tuesday's Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Rondo has been recovering from a fractured right thumb and has yet to play a game in the Orlando bubble.  

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix

Say what you want about Rondo. But I have never seen a player play through pain/injury like him. In 2011, he dislocated his left elbow in Game 3 of the conference semis. He played the next two-plus games in full arm cast. https://t.co/Wo7ODSEZmN

"I'm not sure exactly when he's going to be available to be in uniform," Vogel told reporters on Sunday. "We'll get him on the court and see where he's at. But no specific timetable yet on him."

Rondo returned to the bubble last week after having surgery on his thumb. 

The veteran point guard averaged 7.1 points and five assists in 20.5 minutes per game, largely coming off the bench to run the second unit. His playmaking and experience will be important for a Lakers team looking to win a title behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. 

And he was certainly pumped up to return to the team:

Dave McMenamin @mcten

Alex Caruso said Rajon Rondo was so excited to return to practice today that last night he shared a photo to the Lakers’ group text of his uniform laid out and ready for him to wear like it was the first day of school.

Tania Ganguli @taniaganguli

Here’s Rajon Rondo at practice today. https://t.co/vKqVcrH0Tf

The Lakers will be heavy favorites against the Blazers, with or without Rondo. But having him will help as the Lakers attempt to cool down bubble MVP Damian Lillard.