BOSTON (CBS) — The health of Isaiah Thomas has been the big story around the NBA the last few days, with his bad hip holding up the completion of last week’s blockbuster trade between the Celtics and Cavaliers.
Along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the unprotected 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick, Thomas was shipped to Cleveland for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in a somewhat shocking trade between two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. Though the deal was announced last Tuesday, it hit a snag and has been sitting in limbo since the Cavaliers got a closer look at Thomas’ hip at his Friday physical.
The Cavaliers and Celtics are now chatting once again, as Cleveland looks to get some more insurance from Boston just in case Thomas’ hip causes him to miss a significant chunk of time next season. But Thomas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday that he expects to be the same player who finished fifth in MVP voting last season when he gets back on the hardwood.
“I am not damaged,” Thomas told Wojnarowski. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player.”
Thomas has been through a litany of tests during the offseason and is set to have the hip re-examined in September. It still remains unclear if he’ll have to undergo surgery for the injury, but Thomas is confident it will not hamper the rest of his career, as some have speculated.
“I haven’t had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career,” Thomas told ESPN. “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.
“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,” he said.
The Celtics and Cavaliers have until 10 a.m. on Thursday to complete or void the deal, and they could also seek an extension from the NBA if they wish to continue negotiations. Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday night that the two sides were talking again, and that Cleveland has come off of their demands for either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum and would be willing to accept a late-first or second round draft pick from Boston.