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Rajon Rondo misses Game 5, remains a ‘long shot’ for series

BOSTON — The much-hyped “secret workout’’ Tuesday night never happened.

It was a good story. Point guard Rajon Rondo got a kick out of it, but he insisted Wednesday that his right thumb hadn’t healed, and he was still out, at least for Game 5.

“Everybody is talking about a secret workout,’’ Rondo said. “I didn’t have a secret workout in Boston. I put the ball in my hand and worked on some floaters with my left hand. I missed one pretty bad in practice in warmups, so I worked on my left hand.’’

So how did Rondo’s condition go from definitely out for Game  5 to trying to play in less than 12 hours, as several national reports insisted?

“Am I surprised? No,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said of the jump to the wrong conclusion. “Just by him being out there and taking shots with cameras in the gym on Tuesday, you understand that’s how it is, that’s the world we live in right now. Like we’ve talked about the last few days, it’s a long shot.’’

And by long shot, Hoiberg meant having Rondo back at all in the first-round series.

“I think a lot of the speculation happened when he got the cast taken off, but the cast was for a completely separate injury,’’ Hoiberg said. “He had an X-ray again [on the thumb Tuesday], and there’s no change. He still has a broken bone in his thumb.

“He’s got a significant amount of swelling, and he’s got a lot of soreness.’’

Rondo also seemed to doubt he could return for the series, although teammates feel he’ll do everything to try to make it back.

“I knew last week it wasn’t going to be fixed in a week,’’ Rondo said. “My finger is broken. I had a torn ligament in my wrist, so that was the purpose of the cast. My thumb and my cast were two different things.’’

Rondo also admitted that the thumb can’t be shot up with painkillers. If he did try to return, it would have to be wrapped up with much more protection than a splint.

“I don’t want to hurt my teammates trying to be a hero and be 65 percent,’’ Rondo said.

“My thumb is the same as it was last week. I think I’m Wolverine, but it hasn’t healed that quickly yet.’’

Not feeling Payne

Cameron Payne was labeled “the point guard of the future’’ by general manager Gar Forman when the Bulls acquired him from the Thunder at the trade deadline, so why isn’t he an option to help out at the suddenly thin position?

“It just goes really to experience,’’ Hoiberg said. “That’s kind of where it is with our team right now.’’

Payne was inactive for Game 5, but Hoiberg said everything was up in the air for Game 6.

“We’ll re-evaluate it after the game and see where we want to go with Game 6,’’ Hoiberg said.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.
Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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