If the Chicago Bulls are going to complete the upset over the Boston Celtics, it looks like they’ll have to do it without Rajon Rondo.
The team announced on Friday morning that the point guard is out indefinitely with a fractured thumb, per The Athletic’s Sean Highkin:
Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely with a small thumb fracture, Bulls announce
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) April 21, 2017
Surgery isn’t required, but this nevertheless comes as a huge blow for the Bulls.
After a topsy-turvy, Rondo emerged as one of the most important players of Chicago’s first-round series. He was averaging 11.5 points, 10 assists and 3.5 steals through two games and had established a happy medium with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade. The Bulls, to this point, are a plus-17 against the Celtics with Rondo on the floor—third-highest mark on the team. The good news is they’re a plus-one without him, though that speaks more to the Celtics’ implosion.
No Rondo means more minutes for Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams, plus perhaps the seldom-used Cameron Payne. Head coach Fred Hoiberg could also opt to use Butler and Wade by themselves in the backcourt and have them trade off pseudo point guard duties. But that only makes sense if they’re squeezing in another shooter, and they may not have the requisite snipers to make this worthwhile.
It’s amazing we’ve reached this point, isn’t it? Rondo was not too long ago someone the Bulls couldn’t afford to play. And now, when it matters most, he might turn out to be someone they couldn’t afford to lose.