Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo practices at the UCLA Health Training Center on Jan. 23, 2019.
(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)

Lakers Hope for a Rondo Return on Thursday

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

After Sunday’s loss to Golden State, coach Luke Walton expressed optimism that Rajon Rondo (right ring finger surgery) would be able to return for Thursday’s game against Minnesota.

Walton remained hopeful at Wednesday’s practice, saying the Lakers have missed Rondo’s leadership, calling it “something we need right now.”

Specifically, the Lakers’ offense could use his ability to control the game, especially considering that LeBron James (left groin strain) and Lonzo Ball (left ankle sprain) are out.

Rondo said he wants to bring “better execution offensively” and “more communication on the defensive end.”

So far, he has only played in 14 of L.A.’s 48 games, averaging 8.4 points and 6.7 assists. When he does hit the court, he won’t wear any kind of a brace.

“Just try to play without any hesitation,” Rondo said. “I’m still maybe guarding it a little bit.”

Rondo said that he hasn’t taken much contract in practice, except for a bit from Lance Stephenson. “He’s hacked me a couple times,” Rondo said with a smile.

Meanwhile, Brandon Ingram will continue to play some point guard due to the absences of James and Ball.

Stephenson and Svi Mykhailiuk have also gotten some minutes at point, but Ingram’s direction of the offense has had more of an impact on the team’s record.

The Lakers are 8-3 when he has at least four assists, but 12-14 when he has fewer.

“Either way Brandon will play point guard with the first unit and the second unit at times in the game,” Walton said, “whether Rondo plays or doesn’t play.”

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