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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Rajon Rondo could return to Lakers as early as first round?

The Los Angeles Lakers are now just 2-4 in bubble play, but the looming return of Rajon Rondo may provide them with a boost sooner than expected.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported this weekend that the injured Lakers guard has arrived in Orlando but is outside of the bubble working “diligently” with Kurt Rambis, the team’s senior basketball advisor. Haynes also says that the Lakers are “hopeful” that if Rondo continues rehab without any setbacks, he could possibly re-enter the bubble at some point during the first round of the playoffs.

Re-entering the bubble during the first round does not necessarily mean playing in the first round, as Rondo would still be subject to a quarantine period and would also have to work his way back into game-playing shape. The four-time All-Star suffered a fractured right thumb during an early bubble practice in mid-July and has been sidelined ever since.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Quinn Cook have all picked up extra minutes in Rondo’s absence, but none of them have been particularly impressive thus far. The first round will begin on Aug. 17, which is somewhat ahead of Rondo’s original injury timetable.

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