Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo, who was a crucial component of the Bulls taking an early 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics, is working hard at the possibility of being able to play in Game 5.
Rondo held a night workout in Boston to test his fractured right thumb and ailing right wrist to determine if he would be ready to return for Game 5.
“He wants to play bad,” one source close to Rondo said, according to ESPN.
“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.”
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters that Rondo was out for Game 5 as recently as Tuesday and Rondo, who suffered the injury in Game 2, was initially expected to be in a hard cast for at least 7-10 days.
“This is honestly the first time he’s touched a basketball with that right hand,” Hoiberg said.
“We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes. He’s going to continue to condition and do everything that he can. He was in the weight room yesterday getting a good session in there. It was his first time back in the weight room. He’s just getting this whole process started.”
Chicago has been in flux since Rondo’s injury, with lack of production from the point guard spot, a position that has given little production in the Bulls 2 home losses, which evened the series at 2-2.
“It’s so early in the process,” Hoiberg said regarding a potential Rondo return for Game 5.
“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.”
Bulls forward Jimmy Butler knows how big a Rondo return for Game 5 would be for Chicago in the series.
“Obviously, that’s huge,” he said. “We want that guy back, but I don’t know if it will happen, if it won’t happen; I can’t tell you that.
“He’s still out here shooting shots with his left hand from the corner. He just shot that one right-handed, actually, air-balled it. But we love him. He’s our floor general out there. He knows everything. He knows every matchup, every position, and he’s still helping from the bench. We really want him helping out there from the floor.”
Rondo came up big for the Bulls in the first 2 games of the series against his former team. Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 10 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals in the Bulls 2 wins to open the series.
Rondo has said that he considers himself a fast healer but it may be far too outside the realm of possibility for him to return for Game 5.
Chicago had Boston on the ropes, thanks in large part to Rondo, but now they are looking for a way to swing momentum back in their favor, even looking to Rondo for what would be a miraculous return.