Rondo: Bulls coaches say they're 'saving me from myself'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo said he was told by a member of the Chicago coaching staff that coach Fred Hoiberg was “saving me from myself” by benching the four-time All-Star for the past five games.

Before returning to action in a game Tuesday night, Rondo said Hoiberg had not provided a reason for his benching.

“I got a slight explanation from another guy on the (coaching) staff,” Rondo said. “The guy told me that he was saving me from myself.”

Rondo was surprised by the comment and said he did not understand it.

“Save me from myself?” he said. “I’ve never heard that before in my life. I guess he was trying to do the best thing for me.”

Rondo came off the bench in the first quarter against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. He hadn’t played since posting a plus-minus rating of minus-20 during 11 first-half minutes in Chicago’s 111-101 loss at Indiana on Dec. 30.

“It’s out of my control really, what they have going on,” Rondo said. “So got to go out there and play better.”

Hoiberg spoke to the media before Rondo made his comments and said the 30-year-old point guard would be the first man off the bench Tuesday for the short-handed Bulls. Chicago was without leading scorers Jimmy Butler (ill) and Dwyane Wade (resting), and forward Nikola Mirotic was also out with an illness.

Rondo signed a $28 million, two-year free agent contract with Chicago in July. He averaged 7.2 points, 7.1 assists and 6.5 rebounds over 29 games before falling out of favor.