BOSTON – The Boston Celtics may have lost more than just a game in their 130-86 drubbing at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Isaiah Thomas, recently named to the all-NBA second team, re-aggravated a right hip injury that kept him sidelined for the entire second half.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he will be re-evaluated on Saturday prior to the team’s departure for Cleveland on Saturday afternoon.
Thomas finished with just two points – both from the free throw line – after missing all six of his shot attempts.
“He’s had a nagging hip injury,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He aggravated it pretty significantly on Friday in Washington Game 6, went through a bunch of different testing on Saturday and Sunday, was able to play (in Game 7 on) Monday, hasn’t felt great either of the two days.”
While Cleveland’s defense has done a great job of limiting Thomas’ impact in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, Stevens saw something different in Thomas’ play in the first half that signaled potential struggles that went beyond what the Cavaliers were doing defensively.
And Stevens didn’t like it.
“When we went back to the locker room, our training staff and doctors got with him,” Stevens said. “He was pretty despondent not to be able to play. I mean, that guy is a tough guy, and he plays through a lot. For him to have to sit is really hard.”
And the potential for him to miss Game 3, which is very real, makes what has already been a daunting series all that much tougher if the team’s top scorer who also led all players in the Eastern Conference in scoring (28.9 points per game) this past season, is unable to play.
His absence was certainly felt by the Celtics, but as Stevens pointed out, “not 44 points worth.”
Stevens added, “I don’t want to put that on any one guy. Ultimately, (Cleveland) was terrific, we were poor. You’ve got to pick up the slack certainly when other guys aren’t available. But they were tremendous tonight.”
The Celtics were not; far from it.
And the potential for Boston to reverse that becomes even more challenging if Thomas is unable to play.
“We’ll see,” Green said. “To me, I think he’ll play (in Game 3). I.T. (Thomas) is that type of warrior. I think for I.T. not to play, he would have to have one of his legs cut off or something or it has to be something that’s real serious.”