Up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference first-round series with the top-seeded Boston Celtics, everything seemed to be going well for the No. 8 Chicago Bulls. And then Friday morning happened.
OFFICIAL: Rajon Rondo injured his right hand in Game 2 at Boston and is out indefinitely.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 21, 2017
In a statement, the Bulls said their starting point guard underwent X-rays after Tuesday’s 111-97 victory over the Celtics in Game 2 but won’t require surgery. However, a source told ESPN’s Chris Haynes that the fracture — suffered in the third quarter, Coach Fred Hoiberg said — is “pretty serious” and his return will depend on how far the Bulls advance. Hoiberg added that Rondo is in a cast and will be reevaluated in seven to 10 days.
“It shows the toughness of Rajon Rondo to continue to fight through and battle and play pretty much the rest of that game,” Hoiberg said.
After reviewing the tape, my guess is this is steal attempt that Rondo hurt his thumb on (early 3rd qtr). Started flexing it afterwards. pic.twitter.com/buJy166Jy8
— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) April 21, 2017
Rondo finished Game 2 one rebound shy of a triple-double and is averaging 11.5 points, 10 assists and 8.5 rebounds in Chicago’s two playoff wins.
Rajon Rondo has a fractured thumb, out indefinitely, Bulls announce. That's a huge blow. Bulls +14.5 per 100 with Rondo, -5.4 w/o vs Celtics
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) April 21, 2017
He’s also been stout, defensively.
— Max Lederman (@Max_Lederman) April 21, 2017
Jimmy Butler is expected to be the team’s primary ballhandler in Rondo’s absence and Jerian Grant will slide into the team’s starting lineup after playing just six minutes in Game 2. He’ll be tasked with guarding Celtics point guard and leading scorer Isaiah Thomas.
Grant on guarding Thomas: "It's definitely going to take a team effort." Grant said Rondo talked to him and said "lock in and get it done."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 21, 2017
Chicago has had point guard difficulties all season, going through six of them — Rondo, Grant, Michael Carter-Williams, Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Canaan and Cameron Payne (who will be active for Game 3) — after failing to find a suitable replacement for Derrick Rose last summer and then signing Rondo and Dwyane Wade to cap-eating deals.