Cavs news: Isaiah Thomas could have suffered torn labrum last December
The Cleveland Cavaliers could be dealing with more than just a historically-maligned injury to Isaiah Thomas’ hip, as the All-Star dynamo’s injuries could surpass what meets the eye and nerve, according to ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh.
Thomas first suffered a right knee bone bruise in a March 15 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, going up for a layup against Karl-Anthony Towns, who consequently fell on him trying to contest the layup. The 5-foot-9 point man got up gingerly and wasn’t the same for the remainder of the game, ultimately being sidelined for the next two games.
“You could see him favoring [the knee] a little bit at that time,” Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said at the time. “He felt OK through the rest of the game. It was really hurting and swelled up [Thursday] night, and so we’re hopeful to have him back after the trip. Those bone bruises are a little bit unpredictable.”
Thomas continued to battle through the injury for the remainder of the season, becoming the third-best scorer in the league with 28.9 points per game, but ultimately was forced to put the team on his back after going down 2-0 to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the postseason.
The 28-year-old shot a sloppy 28 percent from the floor for the first game and a half, sitting out the next half after being handed a blowout loss by the Cavaliers. Ahead of Game 3, the Celtics announced the following:
“The Boston Celtics today announced that Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of this year’s postseason following re-aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Thomas initially injured the hip during the third quarter of the Celtics’ March 15 game against Minnesota, forcing him to miss the next two regular season contests. The injury was further aggravated during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Washington on May 12.”
Femoral-acetabular impingement or FAI happens when the “ball” of the femur and the socket rub together (known as impingement) when they shouldn’t. The labrum would act as a socket stabilizer, allowing it to pivot in multiple directions.
While this injury will affect players in different ways according to their size and role on the court, it is notoriously problematic for guards, who have to often get low on defense and offense to use their speed to get past defenders or contain them.
Thomas also suffered a groin strain early in the year in a Dec. 5 game against the Houston Rockets, trying to stop a fast break opportunity as an incoming James Harden pass threatened to find Eric Gordon near the basket. Thomas leapt from a dead sprint and swatted the ball away, falling awkwardly and clutching the top of his leg.
“That’s not good,” analyst Brian Scalabrine said during the broadcast. “He made a big-time play on the ball, but those are the ones that scare you.”
“I guess he’s OK,” Scalabrine later said after Thomas drained a long three, a couple of plays later. “Anytime a guy grabs his leg after a non-contact play I get nervous.”
This injury, according to Dr. Carlos Guanche of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, could have been the start of the labral tear he now has in conjunction with his hip injury.