Bulls vague about Rajon Rondo’s possible playoff return

SHARE Bulls vague about Rajon Rondo’s possible playoff return

Fred Hoiberg talked about injuries in such detail in his first season as coach last season that the Bulls reportedly told him to start keeping such updates as vague as possible.

That’s why the timetable on point guard Rajon Rondo’s fractured right thumb is indefinite.

Hoiberg said the injury occurred in the third quarter of the Bulls’ victory in Game 2 on Tuesday in Boston, but Rondo played through it, thinking it was just jammed or sprained. It hadn’t improved by late Thursday, though, and an X-ray confirmed the bad news.

‘‘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. ‘‘[Thursday] night, you could tell in talking to him that something wasn’t right. Everybody who plays this game jams fingers and thumbs all the time. But he said this one was a little different. So to get the news was very tough.’’

Hoiberg said the cast will come off next week, then Rondo will go through another X-ray to see whether there has been any improvement.

Hoiberg made it sound as though Rondo would miss the rest of the series against the Celtics, but he was vague beyond that.

Early message

While the play of the Bulls’ backups might be surprising to some, don’t include starting guard Dwyane Wade among them.

Wade saw firsthand how prepared the reserves were in the first practice of the playoffs.

‘‘That first day in practice to prepare for this series, they kicked our butt,’’ Wade said. ‘‘They were out there about an hour before us, preparing, getting ready. And now you see it. We looked at each other like, ‘We’re going to be good because those guys are ready and are pushing us.’

‘‘We believe and trust in those guys. And we need that. We need someone to step up off the bench and make an impact.’’

Rookie forward Paul Zipser called it a huge practice for everybody involved.

‘‘You just saw how we were going to play the next game, especially in Boston, how you’ve got to show up as a team,’’ Zipser said. ‘‘So for everybody — literally everybody — it was a big-time practice, and it was important for us.’’

Adjustment time

Looking to switch things up for Game 3, Celtics coach Brad Stevens inserted Gerald Green into the starting lineup and benched Amir Johnson. Johnson had a combined seven points and six rebounds in the first two games.

‘‘Shooting, length, athleticism,’’ Stevens said of the reason.

The move seemed to set a tone, with the Celtics outscoring the Bulls 33-15 in the first quarter on their way to a 104-87 victory. Green scored eight points and was a plus-5.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com


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