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Report: Celtics don’t know when Isaiah Thomas initially injured hip

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five

BOSTON, MA - MAY 25: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics talks with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 135-102 in Game Five of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Boston Celtics 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the 2017 NBA Finals. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

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Isaiah Thomas missed four games last December with what the Celtics called a knee injury. Then, he missed two games in March with what Boston deemed a groin injury. Finally, in shutting down Thomas for the playoffs due to a hip injury in May, the team acknowledged the March injury was actually a hip injury.

Was the December injury also to Thomas’ hip?

What the Celtics knew and when they knew it have become major questions.

They traded Thomas to the Cavaliers, who ultimately demanded an additional second-round pick after giving Thomas a physical. Cleveland, gunning for a championship against the high-powered Warriors, has little margin for error. Neither does Thomas, a 5-foot-9 28-year-old who opted against surgery and is entering a contract year he hopes will culminate with a max contract.

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN spoke to several medical experts, including Dr. Carlos Guanche about Thomas’ condition. Haberstroh:

Though Thomas’ hip condition was only made public in May, league sources told that the Celtics organization was not certain exactly when the labral tear occurred. The Towns collision on March 15 was one possible aggravation point, but the initial timing of the tear remains unclear.

Given the circumstances, Guanche says he was surprised to see that Thomas had opted to forgo surgery in May.

“That would have been the time to get it fixed,” Guanche says. “It was a gamble.”

Thomas is rehabbing in Cleveland with a chip on his shoulder. He insists he’ll be fine.

But bravado goes only so far with injuries. Thomas can’t necessarily will himself through this like he willed himself to NBA stardom, though I understand why that experience would inform his current attitude.

He could be fine. Maybe he’ll recover fully. Maybe it’s not too late for surgery.

But Haberstroh’s in-depth foray into Thomas injury is eye-opening. I suggest reading it in full.