To put it mildly, Isaiah Thomas didn't look right on Wednesday night.
Thomas Feels Healthy, Works To Shake off Rust | Boston Celtics
"I didn’t think last night – and I think he would be the first to tell you – I didn’t think he looked like himself." Stevens said at Thursday morning’s practice. The numbers back up all of these beliefs. Thomas scored just four points on 2-of-7 shooting and played only 20 minutes.
But it at least sounds like it was mostly rust.
Inglorious return hurts Celtics Isaiah Thomas | Boston Herald
Though Thomas is resigned to playing the rest of the regular season, and perhaps the postseason, while tolerating back stiffness, he was admittedly surprised by the relatively low degree of pain yesterday. He had absorbed the requisite shot the night before, an all-out fall on his back after taking a charge from Miami’s Tyler Johnson. "I feel better than I thought I would," he said before heading onto the floor to put up shots. "I’m good, man. I’m not going to be 100 percent, but I’m going to be able to go out there and play. It was different for me last night. I felt like I had to start all over again, because my timing was off offensively and defensively. But that will come back."
Obviously he should take it slow and get himself right. The team does need him if they hope to make the playoffs and make any noise therein. He's a competitor so he's eager to play. The worry is that he rushed himself back too soon. He could be a detriment to the team if he's hobbled or just plain rusty, but more importantly he's at risk to injure himself worse. Perhaps it was a freak accident but sometimes when you have an injury somewhere your body starts to involuntarily compensate elsewhere, putting undue stress on muscles that you didn't use in the way before.
Basically what I'm saying is that Thomas should ease back into this because waiting may be a pain in the (ahem) backside, but it beats making things worse by forcing the issue.