As Rajon Rondo closes in on his ninth game missed after breaking his hand on November 14th against the Trail Blazers, the Lakers are finally hitting their stride after a rough early season. After going 3-5 in October, the team ramped it up and had a great month of November. They went 10-4, and are now about to play their first game of the new month against the Phoenix Suns.
Rondo only got a few games in with the team before suffering his injury–he averaged 8.5 points and 6.5 assists per game in that time–but has been a solid presence on the sidelines since then. He remains a mentor to fledgling point guard Lonzo Ball, who has been a solid stand-in for the veteran Rondo. Ball is averaging 8 points and 4.5 assists per games, stats that closely mimic his teammate and mentor.
As Rondo nears recovery though, Lonzo will likely be pushed back out of the starting lineup for the more experienced guard.
Rondo is Recovering Quickly
It’s been less than a month since the injury, and Rondo has already been cleared to participate in non-contact drills. The original expectation when the injury occurred was that Rondo would miss 4-6 weeks of play, but he seems to be healing up nicely and may even beat that timeline. To be back on the court just 11 days after breaking a hand is certainly not a bad sign.
Even from the sidelines, Rondo has been a vital member of the team and has even been seen in the coaches huddles during timeouts. He’s known for his intelligence and basketball IQ, so it’s no surprise that the Lakers coaches value his input no matter his playing status.
If the timeline holds, Rondo could be back as soon as late next week, or as late as after the Lakers’ Christmas matchup against the Warriors.
In the meantime, the Lakers seem to be figuring out their chemistry without him. They’ll be searching for their third win in a row today against the Suns, and have been exhibiting an increasing on-court flow.
LeBron James, unsurprisingly, leads the team with 28.1 points per game, along with 7.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists. He’s having his most productive season since 2009-2010, which is impressive coming from a 16-year vet. But LeBron will be LeBron. Brandon Ingram contributes 15.8 points per game, and Kyle Kuzma is currently holding down a 16.3 PPG average. The young team seems to be finally flourishing under the leadership of veterans James, Rondo, and Chandler.
When Rondo returns, the sky’s the limit for this Lakers team.