The injury bug continues to bite Celtics starters.
Starting point guard and offensive catalyst Isaiah Thomas was ruled out for Wednesday night’s tilt against the Magic in Orlando with a pulled groin, with the team taking it a step further and sent the 27-year-old back to Boston Tuesday night to get begin treatment on the injury.
According to coach Brad Stevens, Thomas was “very sore” on Tuesday. He sat out practice on Tuesday, but did get up and do a little shooting afterwards.
Stevens told reporters after Wednesday morning’s shootaround, “Like Isaiah is, he had convinced himself he wanted to play, and he really wants to play. Obviously, it’s an injury you’re wary of because it can hamper you … if it continues to exist.”
The injury happened in the second quarter of Monday’s one-point loss to the Rockets.
The point guard has been an essential part of the Celtics’ offense, averaging 26 points per game — good for second in the east behind the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan. The additional benefit of Thomas that is now lost is his late-game ability. For a team that tends to struggle in the fourth quarter like the Celtics have periodically this season, Thomas has bailed the Celtics out multiple times with their backs against the wall.
There is no definite timetable as to when Thomas will be back, but given his status from Wednesday and the Celtics set to return home anyways for Friday’s game against the Raptors, it made sense to give him a head start in treatment.
“You put him on the plane so you can get him back to get treatment around the clock in our training room, see our doctors, and everything else,” Stevens said.
Thomas has been the epitome of durability during his time with the Celtics. Up until Wednesday, he had appeared in 103 consecutive regular season games.
Stevens did not provide a definite answer when asked who would run the point Wednesday night, but did indicate it was likely that Marcus Smart would be the one to fill in for Thomas in the starting lineup. Per reports from Orlando, Smart was in a green starter’s jersey at shootaround.
As a result, expect Terry Rozier to see a bump in minutes with Thomas’ absence. Demetrius Jackson was also recalled from Maine on Tuesday as well, giving the Celtics some ore depth at the point to work with.