Thomas agreed to a deal with the Wizards in July eager to put the past two injury-plagued seasons behind him and show he still belongs in the NBA.
But the point guard’s career has been upended by injuries, largely stemming from a hip ailment he played through with the Boston Celtics during the 2017 playoffs. Over the next two seasons, he appeared in just 44 of a possible 164 games while bouncing among the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. Once a dynamic scorer who averaged 28.9 points just three seasons ago, Thomas averaged 8.1 points in 12 games with Denver last year.
In Washington, Thomas saw an opportunity to showcase his skills — an opportunity created by a devastating Achilles’ injury to franchise point guard John Wall, who is expected to miss most or all of the upcoming season. So for the second consecutive summer, Thomas, 30, signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum in the hopes of rebuilding his value.
“The biggest thing for me in signing with a team this summer was all about getting a legit opportunity to show that I can still play and play at a high level,” Thomas told reporters in July. “And then — which is not great — with John [Wall] being out most of the year, it gives me an opportunity to come in and play right away. When I met with the Wizards [in July], it was like they really wanted me, and it was like a genuine want.”
“This was an unfortunate setback for Isaiah, but with his resolve and the top care he will receive from our medical team, we expect him to make a full recovery,” Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “In the meantime, he will continue to mentor our young guards and have a positive impact on the team as we start training camp.”
The Wizards open the regular season Oct. 23 against the Mavericks in Dallas. If Thomas misses six weeks, the short end of the timeline provided, that would have him returning a week into the season. Training camp opens Oct. 1, with Ish Smith as perhaps the Wizards’ healthiest option at point guard.