Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton announced Rajon Rondo had his right hand drained Sunday and will be shut down for a couple days. After recently being cleared for contact progression and participating in practice, Rondo experienced some swelling.
“We’re going to shut him down completely for a few days and then get back after it again,” Walton said. Despite the setback of sorts, the 32-year-old’s return timetable of four to five weeks from hand surgery has not necessarily changed.
However, he is unlikely to play against Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets, which would have marked the first meeting since the altercation.
As Rondo originally injured his hand against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 14, he has missed the team’s last 14 games. In the first game without him, the Lakers lost to the Orlando Magic, which ended their four-game winning streak.
Since then, the Lakers have gone 8-4 as Brandon Ingram (before ankle injury), LeBron James and Lonzo Ball have all carried the load in Rondo’s absence.
With Rondo and Ingram missing some more games, Lance Stephenson and Svi Mykhailiuk have also received more opportunities from Walton.
After hosting the Miami Heat, the Lakers will embark on a four-game road trip against the Rockets, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, and Brooklyn Nets.
Since James and the young core are 6-6 on the road during the 2018-19 NBA season, the hope is Rondo can eventually return and stabilize the bench.
As for his level of activity over recent weeks, Walton explained it was with clearance from the medical staff. “Those aren’t my decisions to make,” Walton said.
“We’ve got great doctors, great training staff. He’s constantly working with them, we travel a hand specialist with us that he works with on the road. When players are as good as he is and have been for that long, it’s because they work really hard. He wants to be on the court as much as possible.”