Rajon Rondo, ruled out of Game 5, is gunning hard to work through his thumb injury and make it back into the series against the Boston Celtics.
However, based on what Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has said, it’s going to take a minor miracle for Rondo to play at all the rest of the first round.
“This is honestly the first time he has touched a basketball with that right hand. We’ll see how it goes,” coach Fred Hoiberg said, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going to continue to condition and do everything he can. He was in the weight room (Monday) getting a good session in there for the first time. So he’s really just getting this whole process started.
“Just watching him wince a little bit when the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a longshot. But if there’s anybody who can do it and will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo because of the competitor he is. He obviously wants to get back out there and is doing everything he can to put himself in that position, knowing that it’s still a longshot that that happens.”
Losing Rondo was a crippling blow to Chicago, which opened up a 2-0 lead against the Celtics as Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 10 assists, 8.5 rebounds and three steals as the driving force for the Bulls.
Since his injury, the Bulls have lost two games in a row by a combined 26 points.
Needless to say, Chicago desperately wants Rondo to be healthy as soon as possible. However, he’s just now starting to take shots, and that’s a far cry from battling it out with the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Co.
Plus, only a few days ago, he was having trouble with simpler things than that.
Rondo: "I can't even use a fork with my thumb."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 22, 2017
The next few days will be key. If the Bulls end up losing three games in a row, it wouldn’t be surprising whatsoever to see Rondo attempt to tough it out through the pain in Game 6. Especially given his history of showing exceptional pain tolerance.
However, given where his injury is, it might not matter if he can deal with the pain because handling the ball with a busted thumb isn’t ideal.