Bulls

Rajon Rondo declares himself out for Bulls-Celtics Game 5

Rajon Rondo declares himself out for Bulls-Celtics Game 5

BOSTON — Rajon Rondo is out tonight for Game 5 of the Bulls’ series against the Boston Celtics and if he is to be believed, an appearance in Game 6 or 7 doesn’t seem likely because “my finger is broken.”

If he is to be believed.

Rondo threw cold water on the report that he had a “secret workout” in the attempt to get back on the floor for Game 5 at TD Garden, saying he went to work on his floaters because he airballed one in practice Tuesday.

“No I’m not playing. I got an X-ray yesterday. The thumb is still the same. It’s still broke,” Rondo said. “I knew last week it wasn’t going to be fixed in a week. My finger is broken.”

Rondo being without a cast on his right hand was due to the wrist injury he suffered in the last remaining games of the regular season, when he tore ligaments and missed a few games.

Knowing his history of playing on a torn ACL and injured forearm, the expectation was that Rondo could find a way to play through the pain — which makes his words hard to completely take a face value, given the hard sell he presented to reporters.

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

As he reiterated time and time again, “my thumb is broken,” a statement he made almost incredulously considering the thought he could come back in a relatively quick time considering this injury occurred in Game 2.

And while the thumb is no longer discolored and looks to be close to its usual form, he still has to use a big cast on it and even when he practiced yesterday with the team he was using a lot of his left hand, according to people who were in attendance.

“Nothing. I can still dribble without it,” Rondo said. “Basic dribbling. But it’s still a big part of my game. I have a big cast on it while I’m playing so it’s not really effective.”

If he does decide to get out there in a clinching Game 6, he could risk further injury to his thumb, and due to the break occurring on the tip of his thumb, he can’t numb it up with a shot or a general painkiller.

He would have to have a wrap on it, and given the high stakes it would be a target for the Celtics players to slap at it to further injure it.

“I’m not worried about somebody else slapping it,” Rondo said. “I’m worried about the way I play — diving on the floor, trying to get my hand in on loose balls. I play on instincts. I can’t go in there with my finger tucked and trying to steal the ball. The game doesn’t work like that.”

“My finger is broke. I can’t go out there without anything. The slightest fall on the floor might further damage it. If I was to go out Game 7, 8, 9, I would probably have a wrap. I finished the game. My finger was broke in the third quarter.

“I can affect the game in different ways. But obviously the scouting report would be different, how they would play me. I might get hacked a couple times on the right side of my body. It could affect the entire hand. If I play, that won’t be my concern.”

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg seemed pretty amazed at the speculation that lasted all of 10 hours as the possibility of Rondo playing began to grow by the hour, but still calls it a “longshot”.

“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. So he’s out tonight,” Hoiberg said. “He is trying to increase his activity just in case by doing some extra running, and [Tuesday] was actually the first day he touched a ball with his right hand, so again, like I said [Tuesday[, it is a longshot.”

4 takeaways from the shorthanded Bulls' preseason loss to the Pacers

4 takeaways from the shorthanded Bulls' preseason loss to the Pacers

The Bulls dropped to 0-3 on the preseason with Friday night’s 105-87 loss to the Pacers in Indianapolis. Here are four takeaways:

One of Jim Boylen’s main offseason mantras drew its first test

The Bulls’ coach liked to use the word “redundancy” when discussing his input towards management’s reshaping of the roster. Too often last season, Boylen felt, the Bulls had to change their game plan or style of play depending on what personnel was available.

This season, with the additions of versatile players like Tomas Satoransky, Thaddeus Young and Coby White, Boylen’s goal was to play the same way no matter which lineup he used.

Boylen’s decision to rest Satoransky, Young, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. offered the Bulls their first true test. Results proved a mixed bag.

With Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison and Shaq Harrison still sidelined by injury, Boylen started Kris Dunn, White, Denzel Valentine, Luke Kornet and Daniel Gafford. Cristiano Felicio and Adam Mokoka were the first two reserves off the bench.

The Bulls wanted to play fast and keep their 3-point attempts high. White, in particular, stood out with his consistently aggressive offensive approach. The rookie finished with 24 points on 10-for-22 shooting and continues to look unfazed by the big stage. He added eight rebounds but failed to record an assist.

But the Bulls shot just 5-for-27 from 3-point range after attempting 38 and 37 in the first two games. Valentine missed four of five and shot 1-for-9 overall, failing to take advantage of his first big opportunity of this preseason.

The guard rotation is basically set

Boylen’s decision to sit Satoransky with other starters and play Dunn again telegraphed intentions to start Satoransky in the regular season alongside LaVine.

But Dunn continued to show why there’s a role for him as a reserve wreaking havoc at the defensive end. Dunn finished with six steals, which was good since he committed seven turnovers. Dunn continues to struggle with his decision-making. His passes seem a split-second slow this preseason.

White is making it virtually impossible to keep him out of the rotation. Over the summer, Boylen talked with his coaching staff about using White roughly 20-24 minutes per game. So look for him to back up LaVine and play off the ball more but still able to push it in transition in the multi-ballhandler system. He and Dunn can play off each other.

Ryan Arcidiacono showed his value

Some fans and league observers expressed surprise when the Bulls re-signed the gritty guard to a three-year, $9 million deal. But Arcidiacono, who only played seven mop-up minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pelicans, demonstrated again how he’s the type of player who can sit for several games and then contribute if given minutes.

This doesn’t even take into account Arcidiacono’s strong practice habits.

Arcidiacono scored one basket on a classic, old-fashioned pump fake, spin and scoop in the lane, barely jumping. And he executed one textbook boxout of Domantas Sabonis, who is eight inches taller.

The backup center battle remains legitimate

Assuming Carter is healthy, who backs him up between Kornet and Gafford could be based on the opponent. Both have made impacts in different ways.

Gafford posted nine points, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks and continued to run the floor like his life depended on it. His defensive presence and energy could be needed on some nights.

Kornet is more offensive-minded but, at 7 foot-1, offers rim protection. He scored on one fadeaway, one-legged jumper in the first quarter that recalled vintage Dirk Nowitzki.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Zach LaVine the best player on this year's Bulls?

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USA Today

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Zach LaVine the best player on this year's Bulls?

Mark Carman, Ricky O'Donnell and Dougie Stlyz join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Bulls preseason continues. The guys debate if Zach LaVine is the best player on this team. Plus, Ricky tells you who the most important player is on the team.

8:00 - There's no Bears game this weekend but there is NFL football. Deshaun Watson's Texans visit Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs a battle of the 2nd and 3rd QBs taken in the 2017 Draft. Should Bears fans subject themselves to watching it?

13:00 - Gerrit Cole continues to dominate. Will he be too expensive for the White Sox?

17:00 - The NLCS begins tonight. Which team is more of a team of destiny?

19:00 - The Blackhawks blow four one-goal leads in their loss to the Sharks. Our panel of hockey guys discuss.

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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