Frank Vogel Says Lakers Are 'Hopeful' Rajon Rondo Will Play Friday

Melissa Rohlin

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he's "hopeful" that Rajon Rondo will play Friday in the Lakers' second-round playoff series opener against either the Houston Rockets or the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

"Rondo has practiced both times this week, looks really good," Vogel said in a videoconference Wednesday. "We're going to continue to see how he's feeling after this work. But we're hopeful to have him in uniform and in the rotation on Friday."

Rondo has been sidelined for over seven weeks since he sustained a fractured right thumb in the team's second practice at Walt Disney World on July 12. He was expected to return to full basketball activities in six to eight weeks. 

Rondo was set to make his return in Game 3 of the Lakers' first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Aug. 22, but then suffered back spasms after warm-ups and stretching and was a late-game scratch. He was also sidelined for Games 4 and 5 of that series. 

Rondo, a four-time All-Star and one-time NBA champion in 2008, was averaging 7.1 points, three rebounds and five assists in 20.5 minutes a game before the season was suspended March 11.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said Wednesday that Rondo hasn't missed a beat in practice. 

"He’s the floor general when he’s out there, he’s always talking trying to put people in position," Caldwell-Pope said. "Just being out here and having him in here is great for us."

The Lakers will find out their second-round opponent Wednesday evening after the Rockets and Thunder, who are gridlocked at 3-3, play Game 7 at 6 p.m. PT.