The team said Rondo is expected to have the surgery by Friday after likely suffering the injury in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 126-117 win over Portland. Rondo is expected to miss three to five weeks after the surgery, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“We have to shake it off,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said of losing his veteran backup point guard. “Of course you’re always aware of the reality of what’s going on. We don’t act like it didn’t happen, but we acknowledge it and we move forward. As a group, we’ll figure out what rotations are working the best, who’s handling certain responsibilities [and] giving our team the best shot of winning.”
“It’ll be a work in progress,” Walton added. “Obviously we can’t replace what Rondo does for our team and how important he is to our team, but we’re not gonna make excuses.”
Rondo has played like the Lakers’ best point guard at times this season. He missed three games after being suspended for a fight with the Houston Rockets‘ Chris Paul in the second game of the season, but he helped stabilize the Lakers’ second unit and finished some games for Walton. Rondo is averaging 8.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Lonzo Ball has started the past 12 games and should see an increase in minutes. Brandon Ingram, who thrived while playing point guard when Ball was injured last season, could also see minutes running the point. Lance Stephenson had some point guard responsibilities earlier this season when Rondo and Ingram were both suspended for the Rockets brawl.
“Just trying to learn to control the game better,” Ball said of what he has tried to pick up from Rondo, along with being more vocal. “When he comes in, the pace goes however he wants it to go, gets everybody in their spots, so that’s what I try to do.”
Rondo has been almost like an extra assistant coach, constantly in the ears of the Lakers’ young, developing players and even organizing film sessions for Ball, Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
Walton said once Rondo is cleared to travel by the doctors, he will join the team on road trips because his voice is wanted. Walton said Rondo was already fighting to travel with the Lakers on this upcoming trip to Orlando, Miami and Cleveland starting on Saturday.
“He was talking a lot,” Walton said of what Rondo did in practice Thursday. “That’s one of the things I love about coaching him. … So he had a little splint on his hand, but he was still out there being involved and helping our group get better.”