Isaiah Thomas Says Celtics Didn't Reveal Long-term Risk of 2017 Hip Injury

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2021

BOSTON, MA -  MAY 2: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics reacts during the game against the Washington Wizards in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2016 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Isaiah Thomas believes the Boston Celtics should have been more up front with him about the 2017 hip injury that derailed his NBA career.

The guard played through the injury and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers the following offseason. Thomas discussed the situation on the All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (47:08 mark).

"The only thing that I think they handled wrong was not explaining to me what the extent of my injury could be if I do play," Thomas said. "That was the biggest thing for me that I disliked. 'Cause nobody gave me no insight, 'OK, you do play, this can happen.'"

The two-time All-Star explained that the injury initially came during a March game against the Minnesota Timberwolves but got worse in the playoffs. Team personnel at the time called it a bone bruise, which wasn't enough for him to sit out for key games.

"If you're gonna tell me it's a bone bruise, I'm playing 10 times out of 10," he said.

"I'm 5'9". If I don't play, they gonna forget about me," he added. "That's how I always felt, just being the smaller guard. I played through it, hurt myself even more."

The injury was later diagnosed as a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear that knocked him out of the final few games of the playoffs. His career was never the same.

Thomas was the third-leading scorer in the NBA in 2016-17 with an average of 28.9 points per game. He missed the first two months of the 2017-18 campaign with Cleveland and averaged just 14.7 points per game on a brutal 36.1 field-goal percentage before a deadline trade to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the four seasons since the injury, Thomas has appeared in just 87 total games for five different teams. The 32-year-old underwent a hip resurfacing procedure last offseason but appeared in just three games for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Boston, meanwhile, remained a contender after the trade and reached the Eastern Conference Finals in two of the next three years.