By Cody Westerlund–
(CBS) Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely with a right thumb fracture, the team announced Friday morning ahead of Game 3 in the evening against the Celtics.
Rondo suffered the injury in the third quarter of Chicago’s win at Boston in Game 2 on Tuesday, coach Fred Hoiberg said, with subsequent X-rays and an exam confirming the fracture. Rondo played through the injury in the latter half of Game 2, logging 40 minutes and finishing the game. Surgery won’t be needed, the team said.
“To get the news was very tough,” Hoiberg said.
Rondo will be in a cast for seven to 10 days, then be re-evaluated at that point. The cast is also to help immobilize Rondo’s wrist, which he injured late in the season. It’s too early to tell whether Rondo could return in the postseason if the Bulls advance past the Celtics, Hoiberg said.
Following a roller coaster regular season in which he was in and out of the starting lineup and rotation at times, Rondo had been a leading figure in the Bulls’ two upset wins against the top-seeded Celtics to start the series. He averaged 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists in the first two games.
Jerian Grant will start in place of Rondo. Grant played in 63 games int he regular season, starting 28 times, and averaged 5.9 points and 1.9 assists while shooting 36.6 percent on 3-pointers. Grant had no playoff experience prior to this series. Michael Carter-Williams will be the team’s backup point guard after entering this series with just six playoff games under his belt.
With Rondo out, the Bulls will also likely turn more of the point guard duties over to All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, which they’ve often done late in games this season.
“He is obviously our No. 1 pace guy,” Hoiberg said of Rondo. “He’s one of the best in the league, he’s been that way for a lot of years. Again, we don’t want to change the way we do things, but at the same time, we understand it’s a little bit of a different dynamic with our team the way it is. Again, it’s just everybody picking up the slack, trying to pick up some of what Rajon gives us and going out and playing with confidence. The biggest thing is to continue to get it done on the defensive end.”