Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of finding a rhythm and turning the tide after a subpar start to the season, their momentum was halted in some regard with news of Rajon Rondo suffering a broken hand in comeback win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 14.

He underwent surgery to repair the fracture of third metacarpal on his right hand the following day and was projected to miss four to five weeks. Rondo joined the Lakers on their road trip three days after the operation and has been a fixture on the bench ever since.

He also quickly returned to the court in an unofficial capacity as the veteran point guard provided instruction to teammates and helped throw left-handed passes during practices and pregame warmups.

Rondo steadily progressed toward dribbling and shooting with his right hand, and recently played in a 3-on-3 scrimmage. However, his recovery stalled due to swelling that required his hand to be drained and called for three days of no activity.

Upon a second follow-up appointment with a hand specialist this week, Rondo was cleared to again participate in basketball activities, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

With the 32-year-old not due to join the Lakers on the road, his earliest possible return would come Friday against his former New Orleans Pelicans team. Without Rondo, the Lakers have staggered Lonzo Ball and LeBron James, and used Lance Stephenson at times to play point guard for the second unit.

His absence has been further amplified by Brandon Ingram suffering a sprained left ankle that’s rendered him unavailable.

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