INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – While all signs continue to point towards Isaiah Thomas missing some time this season to recover from his hip injury, it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers have all but ruled out surgery as an option.
“Our plan is a non-surgical plan,” said Cavs general manager Koby Altman, who said did not want Thursday's introductory press conference to turn into the "Isaiah Thomas hip press conference."
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That's understandable, but as Altman knows all too well, it's totally unavoidable considering how significant Thomas' injury played in negotiations that were prolonged due to the hip.
When Thomas asked about the latest on his hip and a timeline for his return to action, Altman stepped in to address the question before Thomas could speak.
“To be fair to Isaiah,” Altman said, “We’re not going to address any specifics of the hip injury. We’re also not going to put a timetable on his return. We’re not going to rush it, at all.
Altman added, “the goal is to bring him back at some point this year and be healthy, and compete and get back to I.T. status. That’s our goal and responsibility to him. We’re not just going to address the specifics of the injury and not going to comment on a timetable.”
Thomas, who has been working with Cleveland’s medical team since the trade, said he’s getting treatments every day with the plan to get him back to “100 percent as soon as possible.”
On Aug. 22, both sides agreed to a four-player trade that would send Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and an unprotected 2018 Brooklyn first-round pick to Cleveland for Irving pending physicals.
That’s where things got messy.
Cavs doctors believed Thomas’ injury would keep him out for a longer period of time than they were led to believe in the negotiations with the Celtics, prompting Cleveland officials to ask for additional compensation in the form of another first-round pick.
The Celtics didn’t want to put any more compensation into the deal but ultimately reached a compromise by sending Cleveland a 2020 second-round pick from Miami to be added to the deal.
Thomas was third in the NBA last season and tops among all Eastern Conference players last season with 28.9 point-per-game average. He was named to his second straight All-Star team and was on the All-NBA second team.
While the Cavs did add former league MVP Derrick Rose to the mix as well as Jeff Green, the former Celtic who is a career 13.5 points per game scorer, they will need a dynamic scorer like Thomas if they are to continue their reign atop the Eastern Conference.