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Isaiah Thomas working his way back, looking forward to Boston visit

Isaiah Thomas working his way back, looking forward to Boston visit
Published On: Tue, Mar 12
Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas had a smile on his face as he tugged on his sneaker laces in the visitorsa€™ dressing room at Staples Center Wednesday night. He was about to play his eighth game for the Denver Nuggets a€” his eighth game since hip surgery a year ago.

a€œIt feels good, because I finally feel normal again,a€ the former Celtic said. a€œIta€™s been a while since Ia€™ve been able to play with no pain, so it feels amazing. Even though Ia€™m on a minutes restriction and Ia€™ve slowly got to get back into things, I cana€™t complain because Ia€™ve been out of basketball a while.a€

Ita€™s just his second season away from Boston, but it feels like Thomas has lived five different lifetimes since he was pushing the Celtics to the 2017 Eastern Conference finals through injuries and the tragic loss of his sister in an automobile accident. A lot has been squeezed into the interim.

a€œFor sure,a€ he said as he prepared to meet the Lakers. a€œI mean, Ia€™ve been to Cleveland, LA and now here, and this is only my second year gone. Ita€™s been tough, but youa€™ve just got to roll with all the punches. I mean, this is what I love to do. At some point, Ia€™ll get it back and get the opportunity that I got before. Ia€™ll just keep working and waiting on it.a€

Traded to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving deal, then sent to the Lakers in February 2018, Thomas played 15 and 17 games for those teams, respectively, before having the surgery. He signed a one-year contract with the Nuggets, but hea€™s in the right place with Mike Malone, a coach who believed in him back when the two were at Sacramento.

a€œI had to be back with somebody that understood who I was, not just as a basketball player but as a person,a€ Thomas said.

a€œI mean, Cleveland was tough. I only played 15 games, but at that point in time it was like in panic mode because we werena€™t playing that well. I guess they wanted to make a change. You could tell in that situation that it was kind of the end of the road with that group. Then when I came to LA (Lakers), it was great. I got back to having fun and being around young guys, and the culture with the Lakers was amazing. It kind of reminded me of Boston. Then coming here, this groupa€™s been really good a€” no egos, Ia€™m back with a coach thata€™s familiar with what I bring to the table, and wea€™ve got good guys around here. Ia€™m in a great situation. Wea€™re going to be in the playoffs and hopefully make some noise.a€

Before then, Thomas will be hearing some noise at TD Garden when the Nuggets visit a week from Monday. It will be his first game back as an active player, and ita€™s expected the Celtics and their fans will be showing him due appreciation.

Read the complete news article here...

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