On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Isaiah Thomas will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his injured hip, which means that the explosive point guard will miss the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
The 29-year-old point guard featured in 17 games and made one start for the Lakers following a mid-season trade. Primarily featuring off the bench, Thomas provided instant offense and averaged 15.6 points and 5.0 assists during his tenure with the purple and gold.
"Yea, he was great," Lakers coach Luke Walton responded when asked if Thomas had shown enough to earn interest from the Lakers in the off-season. "What a tough player he is, never complained."
Walton went into detail about how Thomas helped the younger players with instructions on the court, his chemistry with a variety of players and also Thomas' approach to the game.
Walton, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Wednesday, said, "I was very pleased with the time that he was with us this season."
While Thomas may be done for the season, Walton softened the injury news by also revealing that Brandon Ingram expected to return to the court on Wednesday night against Dallas on a minutes restriction.
"Everywhere," Walton responded to a question about what areas would improve with Ingram's return. "Our defensive numbers should go up. Offensively, the way he can get out and run and he can be a facilitator for us, he can be point guard for us."
Walton added, "I'm really excited to stop playing [Lonzo Ball] 45 minutes per night, not because I don't enjoy watching him play, but we're trying to keep him healthy as well."
Walton pointed out that Ingram had been shooting lights out prior to his groin injury. For the month of February, the 20-year-old forward made 52.2 percent of his three-point attempts. With a thin bench, the Lakers would happily welcome seeing Ingram back on the court.
"It's kind of a game-time decision for me, but I think I will play tonight," Ingram said at Wednesday's shootaround. "I'm excited to get back on the court with our guys."
Adding to the depth, Alex Caruso will also be with the Lakers on Wednesday night, as the point guard has been cleared by concussion protocol and is available for the Lakers after the G-League season concluded. Caruso is on a two-way contract and had already spent the maximum number of days with the LA Lakers but is now able after the G-League regular season wrapped up.
Finally, Walton shared that rookie Josh Hart had taken part in three-on-three workouts on Tuesday and had been progressing after suffering a fracture in his hand and undergoing surgery. Walton said Hart had been pushing to play on Wednesday, but the team decided to hold him out.
Walton concluded, "If (Hart) continues at this pace, good chance we could see him on Friday."