DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo will be out for at least the next three games after suffering an orbital fracture to his left eye and a nasal fracture during a violent collision with teammate Richard Jefferson 98 seconds into Saturday’s 108-93 win in Orlando.
Rondo will miss tonight’s 7:30 game at American Airlines Center against the Minnesota, plus the upcoming two-game swing to Northern California when the Mavs play at Golden State on Wednesday and at Sacramento on Thursday. The Mavs said in a statement that he will undergo additional testing and evaluation and his status will be updated later.
When he was asked after Monday morning’s shootaround how Rondo is dealing with this injury emotionally and physically,’’ Carlisle said: "We made a recent and that’s all I’m going to; say about it. We’ll update you as we have more information.
"It makes no sense to get in to any details about it at this point.’’
With Rondo sidelined, the Mavs will lean more on point guards Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton to run the offense, while it also will likely mean more on the ball time for Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons, who will start tonight after missing the past two games with an illness.
"We’ll see what the scenarios are and to what extent they are or aren’t extended, and we’ll go from there,’’ an evasive Carlisle said. "If you’re fishing around to see who starts, I’m going to give it tonight whenever I normally do.
"But we like Raymond, he’s kept himself ready, he’s a pro. Barea and Harris are guys whose minutes are going to go up now, so I’ve just got to make sure nobody is getting flooded with too many minutes – that’s one of the challenges – because we’ve got to keep energy in the game. That’s one of the biggest things for us right now.’’
Jefferson had a bruise on his knee after the collision with Rondo, but said he’s feeling fine. He’s more concerned with Rondo, who will not travel to the Mavs’ two games at Golden State and Sacramento.
"My thoughts go out to him -- I want him to get better soon,’’ Jefferson said. "Hopefully he has a quick and speedy recovery.
"Luckily we have the All-Star break not far away, so hopefully that gives him some more time to get right and get back. But he’s a tough dude, a tough guy.’’
Asked if the role of his guards will change the next three games without Rondo, Carlisle said: "Not really. Why would it change? It’ll just be a different starter -- somebody will bump up.
"It’s the next man up when you lose a player. Our guys have worked hard all year and we should be ready.’’
When the Mavs rested Rondo for the Jan. 14 game at Denver, Felton started and finished with 10 points, five assists and three rebounds, and was 4-of-12 from the field in 29 minutes. But since then, Felton has just six points and three assists in 20 minutes, while playing in only three of a possible nine games.
"He’s an example of a guy who’s really worked hard and kept himself ready to go,’’ Carlisle said. "I thought he did a real solid job in the Orlando game (Saturday) night, too, (when) he was thrust into the rotation, and that’s another possibility tonight.
"We just got to make it work with the guys we have available in these situations, and we will. This is part of the challenge of an NBA season.’’
Felton was scoreless in the nine minutes he played against Orlando, and limped to the locker room in the second half while favoring his right ankle and did not return. It’s the same ankle Felton injured in the Oct. 10 preseason game against Oklahoma City which cost him a lion’s share of this season.
The Mavs, meanwhile, have always favored bringing Harris off the bench. That way his minutes won’t get rung up since – with Rondo out – he’ll likely be in the game at crunch time.
"We’re a deep team for a reason,’’ Harris said. "When things like this happen it gives guys opportunities to step up and play well.’’
As he rehashes the ugly events of Saturday, Jefferson remembers that he never saw Rondo in his path when he ran over the talented playmaker. But he recalls the blood gushing from Rondo’s nose.
"I knew we had made contact, but that was it,’’ Jefferson said. "These types of things happen.
"Often guys get elbowed, kicked, stepped on – things happen. Obviously you don’t want collateral damage by your teammate, but it’s tough when that stuff happens.’’