Isaiah Thomas declared he will make a full recovery soon, even if he is not ready to start the year, in an interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. In an article including both quotes of optimism from Thomas and reports from Woj on the latest from the Boston Celtics’ and Cleveland Cavaliers’ trade negotiations over Kyrie Irving, ESPN reports that the two sides have resumed discussions, with Cleveland angling for a potential late first-round or second-round pick.
Although it was again floated that Cleveland wanted Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown in the trade after Isaiah Thomas’ physical raised elevated concerns, Cleveland’s demands for additional compensation have reportedly fallen into a more apparently reasonable range. With the Wednesday 10 am ET deadline for players to report and the deadline for the Thomas physical to be approved 24 hours later, both teams are up against the clock to arrange for additional compensation.
As these discussions carry on, Thomas is speaking publicly to try to reset the narrative on his health which ran wild last weekend.
"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 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."
Thomas saw several hip specialists throughout the country after suffering a hip labrum tear in March that was re-aggravated twice in the playoffs. Thomas, his doctors and the Celtics agreed to forgo surgery and instead just rehab throughout the summer. Multiple comments from Thomas, Danny Ainge, and Brad Stevens throughout the summer indicated Thomas was on track to be ready for the season. While Thomas now admits this is in doubt, he is adamant that once he is back, he is back for good.
"I haven't had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career," Thomas said. "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."
When consulting with Dr. Bryan Kelley of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, one of the most prominent high-performance athlete orthopedic surgeons in the country, Thomas says the prognosis was a glass half full.
"He told me, 'I have seen hips worse than yours with guys who played at a high level and had great careers,'" Thomas told ESPN. "At the moment, yes, I am injured, but I have made progress from May."
Thomas has maintained contact with his new team, but said he does not know what Cleveland’s current course of action is with the deadline for his confirmed acquisition less than 48 hours away.
"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."