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After years of pain in his hip, Isaiah Thomas said he is now finally healthy and ready to return to an NBA roster.
The 31-year-old two-time All-Star, underwent a hip resurfacing procedure in May in order to fix a problem that had been impacting him since the 2017 season.
Now that everything is fixed, Thomas said, “it’s like night and day.”
“There’s no more pain. I’ve got my full range of motion,” Thomas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday. “For three years, I was trying to play the best players in the world on one leg. I needed help from my kids to put my socks on in the morning.
“Now, I can lift weights. I can squat low. I can work out twice a day. I’m able to cut and move and stop, able to cut and go. I feel like I’m 31 years old again. And now, I have scientific evidence to show that.”
Thomas: ‘COVID was a blessing in disguise for my career’
Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 40 games for the Washington Wizards this season, which marked his fourth team in three years.
Thomas first injured his hip during the 2017 playoffs when he was with the Boston Celtics, where he was eventually sidelined in the conference finals. Thomas was then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, though didn’t last long in Cleveland.
He told ESPN that he thinks he tried to return to the court too soon with the Cavaliers after his injury. He lasted just 15 games there before they sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Thomas then signed a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets last season, but appeared in just 12 games, before landing with Washington.
Thomas was traded from the Wizards to the Los Angeles Clippers in February and then was immediately waived. It was then that he opted to undergo the surgery on his hip.
Thomas’ hip was bone-on-bone, something that New York orthopedist Dr. Edwin Su knew was severely limiting his game.
“Before the surgery, you could see he was clearly favoring his right side; and that it was painful,” Su said, via ESPN. “It was natural to avoid pushing off and landing off [the left]. Four months post-op, we are seeing higher loads and seeing symmetry between the right and left.”
“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.”
Thomas is now a free agent and has his sights set on finding a new home for the 2020-21 season — whenever that starts.
While the surgery wasn’t fun, Thomas said the timing of it couldn’t have been better.
“In some ways, the time off because of COVID was a blessing in disguise for my career,” Thomas said, via ESPN. “It allowed me to take the time to get this procedure done, and get back physically to a level I need to be to compete in the league. I made the right decision to do this, and I’m anxious to show people I can contribute to a team again.”
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