By Cody Westerlund–
CHICAGO (CBS) — “Nothing has changed” regarding the availability of injured Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo for Game 6 against the Celtics on Friday night, coach Fred Hoiberg said.
While he’s been working diligently to return from a fractured right thumb, Rondo is still expected to miss Game 6.
“Rajon most likely will come in and work out tonight,” Rondo said Thursday afternoon on a teleconference. “But like we talked about (Wednesday) at the game, it’s still a long shot that he’s back on the court, at least in this series.”
Rondo broke his thumb in a Game 2 win on April 18, the second straight victory for the Bulls to start the series. He finished that game but has missed the three ensuing games, all of which the Celtics won to take control with a 3-2 series lead. Rondo is also battling a torn ligament in his right wrist, though it’s the thumb fracture that’s keeping him out now.
Rondo ditched a hard cast Monday that was on to protect the wrist, but his on-court workouts have primarily been with him utilizing his left hand as the pain persists in his right hand. He’s expressed concern about gripping the ball and playing his usual style with the injury. Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the first two games.
As he did in Game 5, Isaiah Canaan will start in Rondo’s place at point guard in Game 6, Hoiberg said.
While Rondo is completely out, Bulls star Jimmy Butler has been slowed a bit by knee soreness, Hoiberg said. Both of Butler’s knees were wrapped after the Game 5 loss on Wednesday, in which he played 39 minutes and scored 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Butler also went scoreless in the fourth quarter on 0-of-2 shooting as the Bulls faltered late and put the ball primarily in Dwyane Wade’s hands.
There’s no concern of Butler missing Game 6, Hoiberg said.
“He’s got some soreness, there’s no denying that,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy’s a warrior, he’s fighting through it. He’s going to continue to do so. He’ll get treatment around the clock. He’s done a great job being diligent with his treatments.
“He’ll get treatment tonight a couple times, get it again tomorrow before and after shootaround and again before the game. Hopefully we’ll be good to go once 7 o’clock rolls around.”