BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas is still meeting with specialists and gathering more opinions about his injured hip, which ended his postseason midway through Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday and told them no decision has been made on whether or not Thomas will undergo surgery this offseason, and probably won’t be made for another couple of weeks.
“We don’t know if he needs surgery or what kind of surgery, or if that is a choice. We’ll wait until the hip calms down, do more tests and get more opinions,” said Ainge. “We’ll be able to take our time and get more opinions. Everyone agrees that if there is anything that needs to be done to it surgically, once the hip calms down it’s much better to do the surgery. … The recovery time will be much quicker.”
Ainge said Thomas battled the injury for much of the second half of the season, but powered through it to help Boston earn the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and a trip to the East finals.
“He had really good days and days where he was more sore, but he would always rally. He’d play in games and on days it was sore he’d go out and score 35 and look explosive, like there was nothing wrong with it,” said Ainge. “He finished the second half of the season with some periodic discomfort, but I wasn’t too worried until Game 6 of the Wizards series, where I thought he might not play in Game 7. There was that possibility in my mind, but never in Isaiah’s.
“He was just determined; it was iffy if our medical staff would allow him to play but he was so determined. I was worried going into the Cleveland series and he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2. In Game 2 in the second quarter, it was clear he was in a lot of pain and we couldn’t let him play the second half,” said Ainge, adding it would have been “irresponsible” for the team to let Thomas play anymore.
Some have speculated that had the Celtics not put themselves in a 2-0 series hole against the Cavaliers that Thomas would still be playing. Ainge said that is not the case.
“No way. He is done,” said Ainge.
Ainge also dismissed the notion that the Celtics are a better team without Isaiah, which was a topic after their Game 3 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland.
“That’s really silly. Everybody who has watched our team all year, I can’t imagine they would think that. It’s pretty common for teams to go play great without their leading scorer; I used to love when Larry Bird got injured or Kevin McHale couldn’t play. It just means you get a lot more chances. If we’re playing the Lakers in the Finals you don’t want those guys out, but a game here or a game there, the guys look forward to step up and show what they could do.
“Many times we went into offensive droughts with [Thomas] on the bench and he’d come in and save the day in the fourth quarter for us,” Ainge said of Thomas. “To say we’re a better team without him is just silly.”
Ainge also shot down a recent report from Jackie MacMullan that he was shopping Thomas for a lottery pick at last year’s NBA Draft.
“We had eight draft picks and were trying to consolidate our picks to move up or out of the draft. We were also making plans to go get Kevin Durant and Al Horford, so why in the world would we go there without Isaiah Thomas and try to have our best player traded for a lottery pick? It just doesn’t make any sense at all,” Ainge responded.
Listen to the full interview here, including Ainge discussing Lonzo Ball refusing to work out for the Celtics ahead of next month’s NBA Draft.