CHICAGO (AP) — If the Chicago Bulls are to extend their postseason, they almost certainly will have to do it without Rajon Rondo.
Rondo has a fractured right thumb, and coach Fred Hoiberg says the backcourt catalyst is a “long shot” to play Game 6 against the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Nor does the coach expect Rondo to be available if a Game 7 is necessary. The veteran guard is scheduled to work out Thursday night.
“Nothing has changed as of now,” Hoiberg said during a conference call Thursday.
Hoiberg says guard Isaiah Canaan will start in Rondo’s place for a second straight game. The Celtics lead the first-round series 3-2.
Since Rondo injured his hand in Game 2, Boston won three straight. The Bulls averaged only 93.0 points in those games compared with 108.5 in the first two.
Hoiberg says his team played most of the Game 5 loss in Boston without a point guard on the floor.
“But just that’s the reality of the situation that we’re in right now,” he said. “It’s probably going to be that way the rest of the series.”
Rondo was a standout at both ends in the first two games, both Chicago victories on the road. He averaged 11.5 points, 10.0 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals.
“We had a real good thing going with Rajon,” Hoiberg said. “Our flow was excellent. Our pace was really good, just getting the ball down the floor early and striking before the defense was set. That’s something we had a lot of success with. Obviously, that part of our game has changed with Rondo out.”
Hoiberg says forward Jimmy Butler had “some soreness” in his right knee but would play Friday.
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