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What Isaiah Thomas being out will mean for the Celtics

With the Eastern Conference Finals already out of hand, the Celtics learn they will be without their best player the rest of the way.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game One Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Isaiah Thomas never returned to the court after halftime of last night’s Game 2 drubbing at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas initially injured his hip back on March 15th and resulted in him sitting out two games. It is now being reported that he re-aggravated the injury in Game 6 of their second round match-up against the Washington Wizards. During the second quarter of Game 2 against the Cavs, Thomas became visibly hobbled, which we now have learned is being called an aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear. Essentially, he has a tear where the top part of his thigh bone meets his hip bone.

According to the Celtics Medical Officer, Dr Brian McKeon, Thomas has been managing the injury since his set-back against Washington,

“Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred...The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”

The Cavs defense keyed on Thomas for most of Game 1, running two players at him and forcing him to give up the ball. He was held to just 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting while playing 38 minutes in a 117-104 home loss to start the series. In Game 2, the Cavs showed Thomas some of the same high double teams but mostly just in the pick and roll. They elected to play him straight up the rest of the time and did a tremendous job of not fouling Thomas when he drove into the paint, forcing him to attempt difficult shots. Thomas didn’t make a field goal, going 0-6 from the floor, while scoring just two points on a pair of made free throws before he departed with his hip injury.

Thomas did not travel with the Celtics to Cleveland, staying behind to further asses the next steps in his treatment. Meanwhile, the Celtics now trail in the series 2-0 after dropping the first two games of the series at home in distressing fashion. Look for Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart to inherit an increased workload in Thomas’ absence.

The Celtics haven’t been anything close to competitive so far against the Cavs and things just get worse from here as they will be forced to face a Cavaliers team hitting their stride without their best scorer and team leader in Thomas. Considering the outcomes in Games 1 and 2 in Boston, it’s hard to imagine this series getting any closer as it shifts to Cleveland.