Eleven months after hip surgery, Denver Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas will make his return tonight against Sacramento, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 13, 2019
After eleven months of waiting and recovering from hip surgery, Thomas told the media today that, while he isn’t 100 percent, he likely never will be. This is the best time for him to return though, and he’s excited for the opportunity the Nuggets have afforded him.
Thomas said he’ll be a gametime decision tonight. Said he’s thankful the Nuggets haven’t pushed him at any point this season to get back, allowed him to work back on his own time. “This organization has been everything they said they would be.”— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) February 13, 2019
Thomas averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 assists in 26.9 injury-riddled minutes per game in 2017-18, major drops from his 28.9 points and 5.8 assists per game the year prior. In addition his efficiency dropped from 62.5% to 50.8% True Shooting.
There are certainly concerns about how the rotation will look now that Thomas is involved, but to dwell on that is to ignore the long road to recovery that Thomas has endured. Eleven months ago, Thomas last suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers, clearly hampered by his hip injury and forced to come off the bench behind incumbent Lonzo Ball. Before that, Thomas spent 15 games playing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, returning too soon from his hip injury due to the pressure to return from within. Before that, he was putting up MVP caliber numbers in 2016-17 for the Boston Celtics, operating as the heart and soul of that organization before being unceremoniously discarded.
Thomas has been through a lot, and Nuggets fans should be excited about his impending return. At his worst last season, Thomas still drew a lot of attention from opposing defenses. The Nuggets have the players around him to insulate him in that regard. At his best he is an All-Star caliber talent, capable of changing a game for the better at any moment, leading his team to victory. Whatever happens, the Nuggets will be glad to have Thomas back in the fold, further adding to an already loaded unit of guards in Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Monte Morris, and Malik Beasley.
Thomas on fitting into this rotation and stable of talented guards:— Brendan Vogt (@Bvogt422) February 13, 2019
“My job is not to fit in but to stand out. No matter what team I’m on.”