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Bulls' Rajon Rondo sidelined with broken thumb

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 2 days ago By Adam Himmelsbach

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CHICAGO — Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo has a fractured right thumb and is out indefinitely, the team announced on Friday morning.

Rondo suffered the injury during 8th-seeded Chicago’s 111-97 win over the top-seeded Celtics in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday, the team said.

This is a potentially critical loss for the Bulls, who hold a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven playoff series as it resumes here in Chicago on Friday night. Chicago had a chance to close out the series at the United Center, and now that possibility becomes considerably more challenging.

Rondo, the former Celtics star, controlled Games 1 and 2 in Boston, averaging 11.5 points, 10 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game.

“He’s been great,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of Rondo on Thursday, before the injury had been announced. “He’s had a great series. He’s played two great games. And his last month has been really good, and, you know, he’s a really good player. He’s done it before. And obviously some of his greatest moments were in a Celtics uniform. So, very well aware of what he can do.”

After Chicago convincingly won Game 2, Bulls star Dwyane Wade pulled Rondo aside and commended him for how he had run the team. In addition to his gaudy statistics, Rondo brought a steady veteran presence as a player with extensive playoff experience, and he also brought a certain swagger.

Celtics guard Avery Bradley said that as the Bulls were pummeling the Celtics in Game 2, he could hear Rondo yelling to his teammates that Boston’s players had given up.

Rondo missed the last two games of the regular season and second-year guard Jerian Grant started in his place. It is likely that Grant will get the call on Friday night, too. Grant started 28 games for Chicago this season, averaging 5.9 points and 1.9 assists per game, and he is a clear downgrade from Rondo.

PHOTOS: 2017 NBA PLAYOFFS

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, right, shoots over Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on April 22, in Portland, Ore. 2017 NBA Playoffs

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