“I left Cleveland, everybody was excited, everybody was on board,” Thomas explains. “Then I get off the plane in Vegas and there are all these stories about my hip. People were looking at me like I had one leg.”
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Five months have passed and Thomas rises from his kitchen table to stretch his right hip. “No doubt about it, I should have sat out the playoffs,” he says. “No way around it, I made it worse.” After Game 2 of the East finals, the Celtics shut down Thomas, and he braced for surgery. “I thought I’d get it done in a couple days and start rehab,” he recounts. Thomas went to New York City for an appointment with Bryan Kelly, a leading orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and an expert in hip preservation. According to Thomas, Kelly prescribed rest rather than surgery and asked him to return for another MRI in six weeks, when inflammation diminished. Thomas, a regular at Seattle’s renowned pick-up runs, wasn’t even allowed to shoot with Jamal Crawford.
Thomas is traveling with the team during the preseason. “We told him to stay engaged,” Crowder said of Thomas. “He wants to be out there so bad. But he has to stay engaged. I think it helped him this past week. Because he was down on himself. It’s the injury, man. Nothing you can do. I know ‘Bron does a good job of telling him to stay engaged, watch practice and plays, so when you do come back, you hit the ground running.”
One source with direct knowledge of Thomas’ hip condition told The Athletic last week that he is dealing with more than just a tear. Some of those secondary issues in the hip he has played with for years now, such as a loss of cartilage and some arthritis, are complicating his healing process.
Dave McMenamin: Koby Altman on Thomas: “Our plan is a non-surgical plan.” IT: “Y’all hear that? Everybody wants to be doctors now.”
Chris Mannix: Altman: “The goal is to bring him back at some point this year and be healthy, compete and get back to IT status.”
Brian Robb: Koby Altman: “I don’t want this to be the Isaiah Thomas hip press conference.” Cuts off more hip questions.
Chris Mannix: Thomas says he is getting treatment every day and working out in the weight room. That’s it.
Kristian Winfield: Koby Altman on plan w/o Isaiah Thomas: “We’re very fortunate to have signed Derrick Rose and we also have Jose Calderon.”
If Isaiah Thomas were to choose to go under the knife, the timetable may not be ideal for the Cavs. The average recovery time after a labral repair surgery is just more than six months. Such a time frame would put Thomas back on the court in mid-March if he received surgery tomorrow. But recoveries from surgery have lasted as long as 10 months, as was the case with Wilson Chandler in 2015 (his second labral tear repair in a four-year span). Each day that Thomas delays could make the situation worse. For a 32-year-old LeBron James hell-bent on dethroning the Golden State Warriors — and doing so without the help of Kyrie Irving — this is not a workable situation.
Though Isaiah 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 or precisely how long the tear had been there. The Towns collision on March 15 was one possible aggravation point, but the initial timing of the tear remains unclear.
According to Ochiai, surgery would likely keep Thomas out three or four months. “Sometimes it’s longer, but in general three months,” Ochiai said. “I’ve done some high-level athletes that have come back quicker. It all depends on what the gliding cartilage looks like.”
Orthopedic hip surgeon Derek Ochiai offered potential scenarios for Thomas in his return. “When you have a labral tear from impingement, that means that the way that Isaiah Thomas’s hip is shaped, it’s shaped in a way that’s not round,” Ochiai said. “In certain positions, his hip is not round on round. That’s why it’s called impingement, the bone will impinge because it’s not a round-on-round joint. Once you tear your labrum from that, that’s the most common cause of labral tears in any athlete, that tear is not going to heal. It’s always going to be torn, the question is how do you treat that? “And there are some high-level athletes who are playing professional sports right now who have labral tears from impingement who are doing fine.”
According to a report from The Athletic, Thomas’ recovery and health status — a clear point of contention in negotiations that ultimately landed the Cavs an extra draft pick to sweeten the deal — could drag on as long as the All-Star break. “No one is willing to put a timeline on when Thomas might return to the court. The fact he isn’t running yet certainly is not a good sign. One source with experience dealing with the type of hip problems Thomas is facing predicted it could be January or even the All-Star break before Thomas returns to game action. That doesn’t leave much time for a new player to establish chemistry and rhythm with a team trying to compete for a championship.”
So, we spoke with Terry — who’s super tight with Thomas — and he essentially told Cavs fans to CHILLLLLLL … the hip is solid. In fact, Terry says Isaiah is so good, the Cavs should build the whole team around him if LeBron James bails again … and if that happens, “The Brink’s truck WILL come out.”
Gilbert’s fingerprints were all over the drama that’s unfolded over the past week. Thomas’s health is what held up the deal, but according to multiple league sources with knowledge of Cleveland’s thought process, the unprotected Nets pick and Crowder were the pieces that Cleveland valued the most—those were the assets that got the deal done, not Thomas. The perception of the trade was that the Cavaliers and Celtics swapped franchise point guards, but for the Cleveland front office (and its owner), Thomas was the icing, not the cake.
David Aldridge: Cavaliers valued Brooklyn ’18 pick too much to potentially blow up deal w/ Boston. Question now is how long Thomas will be out.
The Cleveland-Boston standoff over Isaiah Thomas’s health also signaled the rest of the league: The bidding for Kyrie Irving is still open. It looks unlikely the Cleveland Cavaliers will pry a better haul than the Boston Celtics’ standing offer of Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected pick in the 2018 draft — even with Thomas’ status so uncertain due to a lingering hip injury. That may embolden Boston to draw the line at one or two more second-round picks after Cleveland finally asked them Tuesday night for extra compensation.
Boston was forthright about the injury in talks with Cleveland before the teams agreed to a trade on Aug. 22, sources say, but Cleveland’s doctors may come to a different conclusion about Thomas’ prognosis for the coming season — the last before LeBron James enters free agency as a flight risk again. If recovery from various hip ailments, including a bone bruise, does not proceed smoothly, there is at least a slight chance Thomas would miss most of the 2017-18 season, sources say. (Thomas disagrees.)
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas believes he will fully recover from a right hip injury that has threatened to void his recent trade to Cleveland. Thomas, who was dealt by the Boston Celtics to the Cavaliers last week for star Kyrie Irving, told ESPN he has made progress in his recovery. “I am not damaged,” the 28-year-old said. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player.”
Thomas told ESPN that doctors said his torn labrum will not affect how long he plays. However, Thomas did indicate he may not be ready for the start of the season. “There’s never been an indication that I wouldn’t be back, and there’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career,” he said. “Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.”
“I haven’t had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career,” Thomas said in the ESPN interview. “Surgery was not the best option in this case. I aggravated it in March when (Minnesota’s) Karl-Anthony Towns fell on me. I kept playing on it and making it worse — until I couldn’t play anymore last season.”
Cleveland and Boston officials started to engage each other on a solution on Tuesday, league sources told ESPN. Cleveland is no longer seeking one of the Celtics’ top young players or significant draft picks, league sources said. The Cavaliers could be inclined to complete the deal for a late first-round pick or second-round considerations, league sources said.
All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas told ESPN that he has made significant progress with his injured hip toward a return in the 2017-18 season and has a message for NBA teams doubting his long-term prognosis. “I am not damaged,” Thomas told ESPN on Tuesday. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player.”
“There’s never been an indication that I wouldn’t be back, and there’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career,” Thomas told ESPN. “Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.”
Thomas has been in consistent contact with Cavaliers officials since his physical on Friday in Cleveland, he said. “I don’t know what [the organization] is doing,” Thomas told ESPN. “It’s out of my control. I just want to talk about what I can control, and I know that this (hip) won’t be a problem into the future.”
If Cleveland really does want more in exchange for Kyrie Irving, the Celtics don’t know the specifics. There has been no contact between the two teams since multiple reports surfaced that the Cavaliers, alarmed by the results of Isaiah Thomas’ physical last Friday, now want more in exchange for Irving.
The Celtics are said to have no contingency plan in place — due to the lack of contact — and no plan to either include another asset to make the trade go through or to draw a line and refuse further compensation.
The Celtics medical staff, headed by Dr. Brian McKeon, was in extensive contact with its Cleveland counterpart in the days leading up to the Aug. 22 trade, with an equally extensive exchange of information stemming from Thomas’ recovery from a torn labrum in his right hip.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix (hat tip: Tom Westerholm of MassLive): “My read is actually from the Cleveland side, and what I hear from there is that nothing they’ve found is anything different than what was conveyed to the Cavaliers in the trade discussions, and certainly in the medical information that was passed forward.”
“Boston is resisting, and will initially at least, resist this idea,” Wojnarowski said. “Boston believes that it was completely transparent with Cleveland about where Thomas was physically, his rehab. Cleveland’s version of this is that they didn’t realize how long Thomas could potentially be out this season, he’s in the final year of his contract, and obviously, that matches up with what will likely be the final year of LeBron’s current deal, and so there’s going to be a showdown between these two teams that may last a couple more days.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “It puts Isaiah Thomas in a really difficult place. He’s gonna be a free agent at the end of this season and he’s looking for the biggest financial score of his career. And both teams dragging him through this is really unfair to his future because he may very well get through and be fully recovered when he gets into free agency next year. The focus is really on how soon can he play this season. But it’s certainly damaging his value around the league, and probably unfairly so.”
After Cleveland’s physical examination of Isaiah Thomas’ injured hip raised concern about the timeline for his return this season, Cavaliers officials are planning to seek an additional trade asset before finalizing a deal to send four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, league sources told ESPN. Without revisions to the original trade agreement, the Cavaliers could threaten to veto the trade, league sources said.
The Cavaliers’ stance could trigger a standoff between Cleveland and Boston officials, forcing both organizations to weigh the consequences of letting blockbuster trade implode. The deadline to report and submit to a physical for the players involved in the trade is 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and the deadline to pass the physical is 10 a.m. on Thursday, per league rules.
A Cavs source said the two sides need to reach a conclusion by Wednesday evening or mutually agree to extend the deadline. Though the Cavs could void the trade based on Thomas’ injury, sources still expect a deal to get done.
If both teams mutually agree to extend the deadline, they can. Once the sides re-engage, Cavaliers officials may try to make the case that Boston undersold them on the scope of the Thomas injury, and more specifically, how soon Thomas could be prepared to play this season, league sources said. The sides did discuss and share information on Thomas’s injury, sources said.
Because Thomas is in the final year of his contract — which coincides with LeBron James’ opt-out next summer — Cleveland has an urgency to get Thomas on the court this year. All along, Boston has believed it was clear in its assessment of Thomas’ physical status and that information was communicated to the Cavaliers in the conversations prior to Tuesday’s trade, league sources said. In a telephone conference call with reporters after the trade was announced, Celtics GM Danny Ainge admitted that Thomas’ physical condition played “some” role in trading Thomas to Cleveland as part of the Irving package.
Chris Mannix: Boston believes it was completely transparent w/Cleveland on IT’s hip injury, per sources. Expect Celtics to strongly resist any sweetener.
The Cavaliers are indeed pausing to consider a “concern that we have” regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip, a source told cleveland.com, while Kyrie Irving is undergoing his physical today in Boston. Two sources with knowledge of the Cavs’ thinking said the team is conducting a “very deep and thorough review process” on Thomas, whom Cleveland acquired Tuesday in a blockbuster trade along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn No. 1 pick for Irving.
In the aftermath of issues resulting from Isaiah Thomas’ physical examination on Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are planning a telephone call for Saturday to discuss the status of the teams’ blockbuster trade, league sources told ESPN. The proposed deal sending Cleveland’s four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick via Brooklyn has been thrust into uncertainty with medical questions surrounding Thomas’ injured hip, league sources told ESPN.
It is possible that Cleveland could request further compensation from Boston before it’ll approve the trade, league sources said. Cleveland has until Thursday to make a final decision on approving the trade, sources said. Cleveland can veto the deal based on a failed physical, sending players back to their respective teams. Thomas took the exam in Cleveland on Friday before flying back home to the West Coast, league sources said. “It’s very sensitive situation,” one source involved in the process told ESPN.
Irving, who had requested a trade from Cleveland, is set to take his physical with the Celtics on Saturday, league sources said. Thomas has been rehabilitating a hip injury that ended his season in the Eastern Conference Finals, and sources have told ESPN that the All-Star guard has yet to begin a regimen of running this offseason.
Kyle Draper: This #Cavs #Celtics situation is wild. My guess. #Celtics doctors said IT does NOT need surgery. #Cavs doctors feel otherwise.
Two people with knowledge of the situation say the Cleveland Cavaliers are doing a “deep and thorough” review of their blockbuster trade that sent All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team is not publicly discussing its plans.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are concerned about the health of point guard Isaiah Thomas’ right hip, according to ESPN, jeopardizing the blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics that sent Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a first-round pick to the Cavaliers for point guard Kyrie Irving. Thomas took a physical in Cleveland on Friday, and the results have given the Cavs pause on proceeding with the deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Thomas traveled to Cleveland, took exam and flew back out of town, sources said. All players must pass physical, or a deal can be voided.
Isaiah Thomas has seven days to report to the Cavs, whose highly regarded medical staff will be waiting to examine Thomas, who also will visit a renowned hip specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Celtics president Danny Ainge told reporters that Thomas’ hip injury, which caused him to miss the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals after having played on a torn labrum, would mean “probably a little bit of delay” as to when the All-Star point guard will be ready to suit up for the 2017-18 season.
Sirius XM NBA: Kevin McHale thinks it is “scary” that Isaiah Thomas hasn’t been cleared for basketball activities yet- McHale on IT hip injury
Adrian Wojnarowski: Boston has believed rest + rehab would return Thomas’ hip to a full recovery. Cavs plan to monitor closely, anxious to give him physical.
Jeff Goodman: There was significant concern from Celtics about Isaiah Thomas’ hip, source told ESPN. Turning 29, game is built on speed.
Isaiah Thomas will undergo additional testing prior to the start of training camp, which as you might expect has elevated the concern level among Celtics Nation. But Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com that the tests have more to do with re-affirming that Thomas remains on a good track health-wise, than any added concern for the two-time All-Star’s health.
Boston eventually lost the series in five games, with Thomas unable to play due to the hip injury in the last three. Ainge said earlier that Thomas’ injury would not require surgery. “There’s nothing else, other than what Brad [Stevens] said,” Ainge told CSNNE.com.
Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp. “He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
“That’s the plan, yeah,” he said. “I should be ready by camp, but I’m getting back in the gym shooting and being able to work out in the weight room and get my cardio back, because I’ve been down for two and a half months since the season ended. It’s getting there though. This week has been great progress for me.”
Thomas said he’s been just resting since his injured hip forced him out of the Eastern Conference Finals in May, but that he recently got back in the gym to start getting back into shape. “The hip is great,” Thomas told the Herald on Saturday during his annual basketball clinic at BU, where he was hosting more than 400 campers. “It’s going well. Rehabbing it, but it’s going well. It’s a real slow rehab process, but it’s getting better and that’s what it’s all about.”
“The decision was to sit and rest, and get my legs stronger, get my muscle back working again,” Thomas said. “We’re just going to try to get to 100 percent as quick as possible. “I’ve been resting. That was the gameplan when my season was over. To rest and stay off it as much as possible to see how it reacts. It’s reacted well, it’s just going to take some time.”
Hip surgery has been ruled out for Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on Wednesday.
Ainge said that Thomas, who severely aggravated an injury to his right hip during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, has resumed light on-court work and has been ramping up his cardiovascular training off the court. “Isaiah is making good progress,” Ainge said. “He’s out on the court; he’s shooting. He’s full-speed ahead on the stationary bike and working in the swimming pool. He’s progressing nicely.”
Chris Forsberg: Celtics coach Brad Stevens couldn’t rule it out completely but believes surgery is unlikely for Isaiah Thomas and his injured hip.
Mark Murphy: Brad Stevens said IT has not “determined” a course of action regarding his hip, and continues to rest.
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he expects a medical update on Isaiah Thomas’ injured right hip later this week.
After the hip issue forced him out of the playoffs, Thomas said he would undergo reevaluation once the swelling subsided. Thomas said surgery was not considered likely at the time, but that things could change after the swelling disappeared and doctors took a better look.
Chris Forsberg: Isaiah Thomas on hip: “[Surgery is] not the No. 1 option right now but it could be once the swelling goes down.”Must wait for more tests. pic.twitter.com/oEFGGfG3zA
Chris Forsberg: Isaiah Thomas led the pregame huddle for the Celtics.
Adam Himmelsbach: Stevens says Isaiah will be at the game. No update on surgery possibility. Will let inflammation go down first.
There have been rumors that if the series with Cleveland were closer, maybe that would lead to a return to the floor for Thomas. “No. No way. He’s done [this season],” Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show this morning.
Thomas was in New York City earlier this week visiting a hip specialist. He’s expected to consult with at least two more before making a decision as to what’s the best course of treatment. “Everybody agrees if there’s anything that needs to be done to it surgically, it helps…if the inflammation goes down,” Ainge said. “The recovery [time] would be quicker.”
Ainge said there was “a lot” of irritation and inflammation around the affected joint in Thomas’ right hip. “It had gotten worse from the MRIs he had before,” said Ainge, who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”
A. Sherrod Blakely: Isaiah Thomas (hip) met with specialist, plans to meet with at least two more according to @Celtics HC Brad Stevens. #Celticstalk
Jay King: Marcus Smart said Isaiah Thomas was “ecstatic” after Game 3: “I told him I channeled my inner IT.” youtu.be/uK_47kRyQj4
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