Isaiah Thomas missed four games last December with what the Celtics called a knee injury. Then, he missed two games in March with what Boston deemed a groin injury. Finally, in shutting down Thomas for the playoffs due to a hip injury in May, the team acknowledged the March injury was actually a hip injury.
Was the December injury also to Thomas’ hip?
What the Celtics knew and when they knew it have become major questions.
They traded Thomas to the Cavaliers, who ultimately demanded an additional second-round pick after giving Thomas a physical. Cleveland, gunning for a championship against the high-powered Warriors, has little margin for error. Neither does Thomas, a 5-foot-9 28-year-old who opted against surgery and is entering a contract year he hopes will culminate with a max contract.
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN spoke to several medical experts, including Dr. Carlos Guanche about Thomas’ condition. Haberstroh:
Though Thomas’ hip condition was only made public in May, league sources told ESPN.com that the Celtics organization was not certain exactly when the labral tear occurred. The Towns collision on March 15 was one possible aggravation point, but the initial timing of the tear remains unclear.
Given the circumstances, Guanche says he was surprised to see that Thomas had opted to forgo surgery in May.
“That would have been the time to get it fixed,” Guanche says. “It was a gamble.”
Thomas is rehabbing in Cleveland with a chip on his shoulder. He insists he’ll be fine.
But bravado goes only so far with injuries. Thomas can’t necessarily will himself through this like he willed himself to NBA stardom, though I understand why that experience would inform his current attitude.
He could be fine. Maybe he’ll recover fully. Maybe it’s not too late for surgery.
But Haberstroh’s in-depth foray into Thomas injury is eye-opening. I suggest reading it in full.