(CBS) Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo hoisted some set shots with his injured right hand ahead of practice Tuesday, but the Bulls continue to rule him out of Game 5 against the Celtics on Wednesday night.
Rondo suffered a fractured right thumb in Game 2 last Tuesday and has missed the past two games, a pair of Bulls losses that has led to the series being tied 2-2. With the Bulls’ young point guards struggling mightily and Rondo’s reputation for being one of the toughest players in the game, the question has naturally persisted: Could he return late in this series?
“This is honestly the first time he’s touched a basketball with that right hand,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes. He’s going to continue to condition and do everything that he can. He was in the weight room (Monday) getting a good session in there. It was his first time back in the weight room. Really, he’s just getting this process started.”
Rondo ditched his hard cast Monday, though he was still in a splint on that hand. While Rondo said last Friday that doctors told him he’d be out a “couple weeks,” Rondo considers himself a fast healer, and he’s also proved in the past to have a high threshold for pain tolerance. In a 2011 playoff series while he was with the Celtics, Rondo famously suffered a dislocated left elbow, had it reset and returned to the same game.
“It’s so early in the process,” Hoiberg said. “Just watching him wince a little bit as the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a long shot (to return this series), but if there’s anybody that can do it and will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo just because of the competitor he is.”
Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the first two games of the series, a pair of Bulls wins that he spearheaded with his quality play and knack for controlling the pace.