After spending most of the 2017-18 NBA season with injuries, Isaiah Thomas failed to receive the “Brink’s truck” he ordered one year ago. Instead, the 29-year-old point guard signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets in free agency. Thomas, who proclaimed that he is pain-free, is expected to use the 2018-19 NBA season to prove that he is 100 percent recovered and can return to his All-Star form.
Before suffering a hip injury during his final year with the Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas was a top candidate for the Most Valuable Player award after averaging 28.9 points and 5.6 assists on 46.3 percent shooting from the field, and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. Showing the same performance next season will undeniably help Thomas have a huge payday in the summer of 2019. However, according to Alex Butler of UPI, Dr. Derek Ochiai, a leading board-certified hip arthroscopic surgeon and sports medicine expert, revealed Thomas will have “lingering issues,” despite having surgery.
“When you deal with that type of hip injury for years, the issue isn’t whether you can repair your labrum or reshape the bone that’s causing the problem to begin with… the problem is that you start getting gliding cartilage damage,” Ochiai said. “Gliding cartilage damage, when that becomes severe, is arthritis. So the longer someone kinda plays through a hip, especially if it’s symptomatic for them and they can play through it, the more likely they are to start getting early arthritis.”
Ochiai revealed that there is still no cure for arthritis. He added that athletes who do “side to side cutting and changing direction” will feel more of their hip issues. This is undeniably problematic for Isaiah Thomas, especially with the position he plays in the NBA. Most point guards are often required to make quick movements when making plays or attacking the opposing team’s defense.
If Thomas really has gliding cartilage damage or early arthritis, Ochiai said that his hip condition will get worse over time. This could be one of the major reasons why most NBA teams were afraid to take a risk on the veteran point guard in the recent free agency. If Ochiai’s findings on Thomas are all true, it will definitely have a huge effect on his market value and could force him into an early retirement. The 2018-19 NBA season will be crucial for Thomas as it will determine his future in the league.