While watching Isaiah Thomas play for the 2019-20 Wizards, it was clear he was limited physically.
The explosion that made him one of the most lethal scoring guards in the NBA was gone and he had to rely on his jumper all while trying to reclaim his status in the league as an All-Star.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Thomas had a hip resurfacing procedure done in May in hopes of fully resolving the right hip issue that has largely inhibited him over the last three years. The 31-year-old expects to be healthy and ready for the 2020-21 season.
“It's like night and day for me," Thomas told Wojnarowski. "There's no more pain. I've got my full range of motion. For three years, I was trying to play the best players in the world on one leg.”
Thomas' hip was bone-on-bone, per Woj, causing him relentless pain and balance issues due to constant favoring of one side.
During his prime with the Celtics, Thomas was a player who put constant pressure on defenses with his relentlessly quick drives to the paint and sudden change-of-direction dribble moves to get by bigger, longer perimeter defenders.
Without his athleticism in his arsenal, Thomas became dependent on his jump shot and his performance was often predicated on his ability to knock down shots. He averaged 12.2 points on 40.8% shooting and made over 41% of his threes with the Wizards before he traded and then subsequently released at the NBA trade deadline.
His days as an All-Star may be over, though that doesn't mean he can't be a valuable contributor for any team in need of a scorer.
"Four months post-op, we are seeing higher loads and seeing symmetry between the right and left," Thomas' doctor told Wojnarowski. "Now, he's playing like he's eight months out from surgery, not just four. He's such a hard worker. He's moving quickly, and able to jump and pivot."