PHILADELPHIA — It's never easy with the Bulls, either by circumstance or their own doing, and Rajon Rondo's right wrist injury qualifies as the former.
The point guard who's been a key in the Bulls' recent surge will sit out Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a sprained right wrist, being replaced by Jerian Grant.
Rondo's MRI confirmed the sprain, which he suffered in the first quarter of Tuesday's loss to the Knicks and didn't play much after. Other than the initial prognosis, there's no timetable for his return, although one would think he would be back before the end of the regular season.
"It's a ligament that's kind of not in the right place right now. It's causing it to pop a little bit," said Rondo after the morning shootaround at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.
Wearing a brace on his right wrist, Rondo said it doesn't swell up and confirmed it's a matter of pain management more than waiting on it to fully heal, saying "When I can still make an impact on the game is when I'll play again."
"It hurts. It's painful. It's my dominant hand. So just taking a day at a time," Rondo said. "Just listen to how it feels. Hopefully, I'll get a good night's rest tonight and it feels better tomorrow."
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Since the All-Star break, Rondo has averaged 10.9 points, 7.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds, taking a lot of playmaking pressure off Jimmy Butler. Grant is a better shooter than Rondo has been historically, but not nearly the playmaker.
In the game of point guard musical chairs, Grant has gone from being a starter to being the 10th man after being replaced by Rondo in the lineup after a loss to the Celtics on March 12.
He's played 30 minutes since, and has to guard against the concern of looking over his shoulder if he makes a mistake.
"It's definitely still there," said Grant, referring to his confidence. "When I played, I played well. I have the confidence that when I get my minutes, I'm going to play well."
Playing 3-on-3 with his teammates has kept him in some form of rhythm, but it's a different game when the lights are on and you're competing for a playoff spot.
"As tough as it is, you have to be mentally tough," Grant said. "You have to control what you can control, play hard and make shots."