Playoffs 2017: East First Round -- Celtics (1) vs. Bulls (8)

Chicago Bulls' Rajon Rondo says he won't play in Game 5

NBA.com Staff

Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo had some hopes on returning for Game 5 of the team’s first-round series with the Boston Celtics tonight (8 ET, TNT). Those hopes, however, have been dashed by Rondo himself, who says his broken right thumb is not healed enough for him to play on.

Rondo was preparing to make an attempt at playing in Game 5, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania. Rondo missed the last two games with a broken right thumb. Doctors initially told the four-time All-Star he’d be sidelined for “a couple of weeks” due to the thumb fracture. Here’s more from Charania:

Rondo received a two-week timetable to return from doctors last Friday, but one source described his desire to play as “guts and determination.” He replaced his cast with a thumb splint on Monday and shot jumpers and dribbled with both hands Tuesday.

Rondo has a history of persevering despite serious injuries, playing through a dislocated elbow in a playoff game in 2011 and playing a few minutes after tearing the ACL in his right knee in a 2013 regular-season game.

Rondo, 31, averaged 7.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 69 games this season. Chicago narrowly made the playoffs but has pushed toward a possible upset of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Marc Spears report Rondo had a “clandestine workout” Tuesday night to determine if his wrist is healthy enough for Game 5:

Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo held a clandestine workout Tuesday night in Boston in an attempt to determine if he’s healthy enough to return to the court for Wednesday’s pivotal Game 5 against the Celtics, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN that Rondo scheduled the private evening session to test his fractured right thumb and ailing right wrist in hopes of getting a better read on how feasible a comeback is after missing only two games.

‎”He wants to play bad,” one source close to Rondo said Tuesday night. “As of right now, it’s still tender and he’s erring on the side of waiting until Game 6. But knowing him, he could change his mind in the morning and try to play.”

After winning the first two games of the series in Boston, Chicago looked discombobulated without Rondo in Games 3 and 4. Backup point guards Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams are shooting a combined 6-for-28 in the series and have turned the ball over nine times in the past two games alone.

Hoiberg is so desperate for a spark at point guard that he said he’s planning to start little-used Isaiah Canaan in Game 5. It would be Canaan’s first start of the season.

“It’s so early in the process,” Hoiberg said of Rondo’s potential return. “Just watching him wince a little bit as the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a long shot; but if there’s anybody that can do it, will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo.

“Just because the competitor that he is and obviously wanting to get back out there. Doing everything that he can to put himself into position, knowing that it’s obviously still a long shot for that to happen.”

The Bulls have lost both games since Rondo went down after leading the series 2-0 against the top-seeded Celtics. Coach Fred Hoiberg announced earlier on Monday that Isaiah Canaan would get the keys to start. Canaan poured in 13 points and three assists off the bench in Chicago’s Game 4 loss.

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