With the Celtics trailing by 31 points in the fourth quarter, things couldn’t have gotten much worse for the Boston Celtics.
And then things got worse.
Isaiah Thomas, who was still in the game with under 10 minutes remaining, drove to the hoop for a layup and rolled his left ankle upon landing.
Though he was able to put pressure on it and finish the ensuing play down the other end, he would leave the game and head for the locker room at the next stoppage.
The word from the Celtics during the game was “mild” left ankle sprain.
Good news, all things considered.
“The only thing that I was told on that play in the fourth quarter he twisted his ankle,” Brad Stevens told reporters. “It’s a mild ankle sprain from what they can tell. So he’ll get treatment. He’ll get a film tomorrow, and go from there.”
The question everybody wants to know is this: Will he be able to play in Game 6?
Stevens said he wasn't qualified to answer.
Thomas, though, was confident in his answer.
"I'll play no matter what. I'm not going to sit out. I just tweaked it again," Thomas, who said he also tweaked it in the fourth quarter of Game 4, told reporters. "It hurt right when it happened, but I came back here and iced it. I'll be alright. For the most part the swelling is alright. I don't swell all that much. But hopefully it doesn't get any worse by tomorrow, which it probably will, but I'll just get treatment all day tomorrow and before the game on Thursday."
Stevens can expect people to question why Thomas, who struggled and had just five points at the time, was still in the game with the Celtics down 31 points. At that time, it was the largest deficit they’ve faced all season. They entered the first quarter down 27 points, so it wasn't as if things were looking good when the quarter began.
“You know what? With this team, I think it’s a very valid question, with this team I’ve seen just enough crazy stuff to think that we may be able to get back in it and give them a chance from 12 [minutes] to 9 or 8 to see if it can happen,” Stevens said. “He actually had a sub at the table when it happened. So I know that’s quite a task and quite a mountain to overcome but we’ve all seen this team do some crazy things when they’re down.”
The 27-point fourth-quarter deficit was certainly a mountain to overcome - and one that with the way the C's were playing never felt less climbable - but if the ankle sprain ends up bothering Thomas enough where he struggles in Game 6 like he did in Game 5, expect another mountain on the C's injury-riddled playoff path.