Denver Nuggets guard, Isaiah Thomas, is ramping up his rehab in preparation for a mid-February return to the court.
Thomas hasn't appeared in a game since last March when he was still part of the Los Angeles Lakers organization, and he's still recovering from undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery that he underwent in late March of last year.
The Nuggets are planning to have Thomas back in their lineup for either their two-game home stretch before the all-star break. Or, for their first game back in Dallas against the Mavericks.
Story on ESPN: There's optimism that former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas can make his Denver Nuggets debut on Feb. 11-13 homestand prior to All-Star Break. https://t.co/tsbtNg1jBL— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 19, 2019
The two-time all-star was signed by the Nuggets during this past off-season, in hopes that he would be able to make a recovery and help this team in the second half of the season. Thomas had surgery on the same right hip that he originally injured back during the 2017 playoffs when he was with the Boston Celtics.
It's also important to note, that Wojnarowski also stated in his article that the final step for Thomas will be for him to practice in five-on-five scrimmages. After that point, then the Nuggets could potentially clear him to return to game action.
Thomas will also be turning 30-years-old next month. So, it's unclear what kind of production the Nuggets will be receiving when he returns to the court. Before Thomas was injured back in 2017, he was considered one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference.
His role once he returns is also unclear as well. The Nuggets are currently very deep at the point guard position, and at the shooting guard position. Monte Morris and Will Barton are currently being utilized as the second-string options for those positions.
It's possible that Thomas could be utilized as a platoon player with either Morris or Barton. But, it's likely that the Nuggets first ease him back into games before they think about playing him in meaningful opportunities.
However, the potential of adding a two-time all-star to this team is very exciting. The Nuggets currently own a record of 30-14 placing them second overall in the Western Conference. Thomas should be able to help this team that's already considered to be one of the best in the NBA. If he can just play similar to the type of player he was when he was with the Celtics.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Thomas has kind of been forgotten about because he's been away for such a long period. Although, it's crazy to think how much deeper this Nuggets team will get if they can get him back to similar to how he was before he was injured.
The tough part will be finding enough playing time for him to be effective as he was before the injury. But, if he can be healthy and effective every time he appears on the court. Then, the Nuggets will then just be forced to rearrange their lineup to get him more meaningful playing time.