The trade deal sending Kyrie Irving to Boston almost went down the drain after the medical team of the Cleveland Cavaliers found something unusual on isaiah thomas’ injury. If not for the additional 2020 second-round draft pick (via Miami Heat), the Cavaliers would have vetoed the trade.

So how bad is Thomas’ hip injury? Both teams did not disclose the gravity of the 5’9” point guard’s injury. But while most are hoping for a better result, we couldn’t discount the possibility that there might be other concerns.

Should Thomas undergo surgery?

“I haven't had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career,” Thomas told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN last week.

Thomas added that after he got injured following the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he kept playing until he could no longer play which worsened the problem. Yet, he believed that undergoing surgery was not the best option.

According to Dr. Carlos Guanche of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, it is very likely that Thomas first hurt his hip back in December. However, he was surprised about Thomas’ decision to forgo surgery in May when the injury aggravated. Dr. Guanche believed it would have been the best time to get him fixed.

So when should he be back in case he does? If Isaiah Thomas undergoes surgery today to repair his hip injury, there’s a good chance he could resume basketball activities by mid-March.

That’s based on the average recovery time after a labral repair surgery, which is six months. That means Thomas could be back by December if he had decided to undergo surgery back in May.

What went before?

The most visible cause of Thomas’ injury was the March 15 game against the Wolves when Karl-Anthony Towns fell on him after a midair collision.

But Dr. Guanche believes it was back on Dec. 5 against the Houston Rockets.

According to Tom Haberstroh of ESPN, the play when Thomas batted the ball away from the streaking Eric Gordon could have started it all. Celtics commentator Brian Scalabrine also took notice of Thomas coming down hard on his right foot. He then immediately grabbed his right leg.

The following day, Thomas was treated with a groin strain. He then missed the next four games.

Timetable for return

There are only 13 documented hip labrum surgeries concerning NBA players; nine of which were performed by Dr. Marc Philippon of the Steadman Clinic, according to ESPN. Dr. Philippon suggested there are certain factors to consider in outlining a timetable for a player to return to play.

Based on Dr. Philippon’s research, NFL’s linemen have longer time recovering from hip labrum tears because of their crouching position. Flexing their hips only aggravates the injury. Accordingly, players doing crouch or squat position are more prone to hip problems.

One sports physician told ESPN that guards are prone to hip problems because of their defensive crouching position in addition to other strenuous activities the position demands. Of the 13 NBA players who have undergone surgery, the timetable of return ranged from 3 to 10 months. But in the case of Martell Webster, his hip injury ended his career.