Free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas underwent a resurfacing procedure on his right hip in May and expects to be fully healthy for the start of the 2020/21 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).
Thomas has dealt with hip problems for the last few seasons, battling a bone-on-bone issue and “relentless” pain, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who notes that the latest procedure is designed to address the injury by including a “unique kind of artificial joint” in the hip.
“It’s like night and day for me,” Thomas told Wojnarowski. “There’s no more pain. I’ve got my full range of motion. For three years, I was trying to play the best players in the world on one leg. I needed help from my kids to put my socks on in the morning.
“Now, I can lift weights. I can squat low. I can work out twice a day. I’m able to cut and move and stop, able to cut and go. I feel like I’m 31 years old again. And now, I have scientific evidence to show that.”
Dr. Edwin Su, an orthopedist based in New York, performed the procedure on Thomas and told ESPN that it already appears to be paying dividends.
“Before the surgery, you could see he was clearly favoring his right side; and that it was painful,” Su said. “It was natural to avoid pushing off and landing off (the left). Four months post-op, we are seeing higher loads and seeing symmetry between the right and left. … Now, he’s playing like he’s eight months out from surgery, not just four. He’s such a hard worker. He’s moving quickly, and able to jump and pivot.”
Since averaging 28.9 PPG and 5.9 APG for the Celtics during the 2016/17 season, Thomas has been limited by health problems and has seen his production drop off significantly.
In 84 games for the Cavaliers, Lakers, Nuggets, and Wizards over the last three seasons, he has recorded just 12.8 PPG and 3.8 APG on 38.6% shooting, and has been rated poorly by defensive metrics. He was waived by the Clippers in February after Washington sent him to L.A. in a deadline deal, and hasn’t been on an NBA roster since then.
It remains to be seen when exactly the NBA 2020’s free agency period will begin and whether coronavirus-related restrictions will prevent Thomas from working out in front of teams. However, the veteran point guard is looking to prove he’s still capable of being a reliable part of a club’s rotation.
“In some ways, the time off because of COVID was a blessing in disguise for my career,” Thomas told Wojnarowski. “It allowed me to take the time to get this procedure done, and get back physically to a level I need to be to compete in the league. I made the right decision to do this, and I’m anxious to show people I can contribute to a team again.”