The Los Angeles Lakers owned one of the better records in the NBA since the calendar flipped to 2018, but had their momentum and success stalled by injuries. Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram were seemingly lost simultaneously, and Isaiah Thomas has missed the past two games.
There’s been hope over the past week that Ingram is on the verge of returning, Hart is targeting Friday’s game, but there isn’t yet any clarity on Thomas. The former MVP candidate is still dealing with a hip injury that called for a lengthy rehab and delayed Thomas’ debut this season until January.
He’s repeatedly acknowledged not being 100 percent healthy but maintained his condition was improving. Alas, Thomas was ruled out for the Lakers’ final two games of their road trip that just concluded because of a sore hip, and on Monday left the team to meet with doctors.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton commended Thomas for continuing to play and not showing any discomfort he was feeling with the hip, per Spectrum SportsNet:
“He’s the ultimate professional. He tells me all the time he feels great, but most players tell their coach they feel great because everyone wants to play. But whatever it is, it hasn’t shown on his face at all. He’s upbeat, he’s great with his teammates, great with the coaching staff. He’s got just a great way about him that’s fun to be around. I haven’t noticed anything. He just called and said his hip was bothering him and he wanted some time.”
With only nine games remaining this season, it’s entirely plausible Thomas does not suit up again for the Lakers. Though, that decision could be a double-edged sword as he’s headed for free agency this summer.
But even if he manages to return, it’s difficult to envision Thomas suddenly improving his market value. While there have been flashes of his old self, the 29-year-old has, understandably, largely slogged his way through the season.
Thomas is averaging 15.6 points and five assists per game during his tenure with the Lakers.