Thomas: Harden 'didn’t even let me get 24 hours of shine'

Thomas: Harden 'didn’t even let me get 24 hours of shine'

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The year 2016 could not have ended on a better note for Isaiah Thomas.
He scored a career-high 52 points, the most ever scored by a Celtics guard on the parquet floor. And they won the game, 117-114, over the Miami Heat.
Calls and texts came in from family, friends, former coaches as well as fellow players.
“It was pretty cool,” Thomas said.
But the feel-good vibes of that Dec. 30 night didn’t quite have the same universal appeal 24 hours later.
Because in that time span, Houston’s James Harden -- another elite scorer -- dropped 53 points in the Rockets’ 129-122 win over the New York Knicks.
Oh, there’s more.
Harden also racked up 17 assists and 16 rebounds for the first-ever triple-double in which the player scored 50 or more points while dishing out 15 or more assists along with grabbing at least 15 rebounds.
Thomas acknowledged after Boston’s practice on Monday that he was watching the Rockets game when Harden had the ginormous triple-double.

Harden is one of the league’s elite scorers, but you have to wonder if Thomas’ 52-point performance just the night before may have sparked Harden to go out and try to top that mark.
“Maybe; he didn’t even let me get 24 hours of shine,” grinned Thomas. “He had to kill my little shine. But that was unbelievable what he did. That’ probably never going to happen other than by himself. He’s special.”

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

With Kyrie Irving undergoing a “minimally invasive procedure” on Saturday, the Boston Celtics may look to add a player via the “hardship roster exception” that only teams that are significantly impacted by injuries, are eligible for. 

MORE - Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

The Celtics won’t have a clear sense of what the timetable will be for Irving’s return until after his procedure is performed. 

But it’s likely to be at least a couple weeks which at the earliest would put Irving’s return just before the playoffs. 

In order to qualify for the NBA’s hardship roster exception, at least four players must miss a minimum of three consecutive games, and later be deemed to be out for an additional two weeks. 

Gordon Hayward (dislocated left ankle) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus, left knee) are out for the season, and Marcus Smart (right thumb) recently underwent surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least another five weeks. 

An independent doctor will determine if the extent of the aforementioned injuries as well as the recovery time for Irving, meet the two-week criteria to be eligible for the hardship roster exception. 

Once that’s determined, Boston will be given a hardship roster exception to use on a player for the remainder of the regular season but won’t be eligible for the postseason. 

If Boston does add a player, look for him to come from the Gatorade League, possibly their G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

Boston has a collection of guards who have helped fill the void left by Irving’s absence, but Boston has not been able to address the loss of Daniel Theis. 

Keep an eye on former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 16.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Red Claws this season. 

MORE - Hayward gives update on rehab

Boston has a 45-day cap on the use of its two-way players with the parent team, but that limitation ends tomorrow which means guard/forward Jabari Bird and guard Kadeem Allen can earn the league minimum for every day they are with the Celtics going forward in the regular season. That can provide some depth to a Celtics team that because of injuries, can use every healthy body they can find.


Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

Kyrie Irving could be back on the court in time for the Celtics to begin the playoffs.

Or not.

Irving will have what the Celts are describing as a "minimally invasive procedure" on his injured left knee Saturday. NBC Sports Boston talked to Dr. Christopher Chihlas from Southcoast Health -- who has not examined Irving but is familiar with his type of injury -- about how long Irving may be sidelined.

"A minimally invasive procedure is basically an arthroscopy," said Dr. Chihlas. "His return to play is mostly dependent on what is done . . . If it's just a cleanout, as we're being told, then -- best-case scenario -- we could see him back playing in three to four weeks."

But, he added, "it could be double that . . . depending upon what exactly is found . . . 

"The key here is the patella fracture (which Irving suffered during the 2015 playoffs). My feeling is that he's suffering a bit of the consequence of the patella fracture, which is a fracture into the knee joint . . . [He] may need to have this done periodically to get him through the rest of his career."