That’s how long Isaiah Thomas was out due to a moderately-severe hip injury suffered at the tail-end of the 2016-17 NBA season. To be exact, it was 236 days between exiting Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year against the Cavaliers with the injury, all the way up until his return (and first NBA game sporting a Cavs after a blockbuster trade this past offseason that sent “IT” to Cleveland and Kyrie Irving to Boston) this past Tuesday against the Portland Trailblazers. In this game, he finished with a stunning 17 points after only having a limited playing time of 19 minutes. Thomas certainly was playing like he had not missed a beat…
However, the very next day (Wednesday), the Cavaliers would play the Celtics themselves at Boston Garden, and Thomas was placed on DNP list.
Why is that? What was his reasoning?
If he played so effectively in his first game back without much issue, if at all, why would he not return and play at least a FEW minutes the next day against his former team?
Was he scared to play and not live up to expectations? Was he worried that he’d be outplayed by Kyrie? Did he want his first game back against the Celtics to be a point where he was at 100%? Or did he want to mitigate any “bad blood” between him and the same crowd that used to cheer him on?
It could be all of the above. But the Cav’s PR team has spun it as a coaches’ decision to not play him in back-to-back games regardless of the opponent. Nevertheless, Thomas was in attendance for the game and as expected, welcomed with a loud, overwhelmingly positive ovation from the Boston crowd. The arena DJ gave him a personal shout out during intro’s and to the naked eye it appeared to be all love. So I.T. gets a pass this time for opting out of the game due to health concerns; but, the next time Cleveland and Boston meet, we’ll be looking for him to put on an absolute show in nothing less than dramatic fashion.