Isaiah Thomas has been trying to get his career back on track after it was derailed by a hip injury, but after returning to the court last month, the Denver Nuggets guard faces yet another setback.
Denver head coach Michael Malone all but announced Tuesday after his team’s 133-107 shellacking of the Minnesota Timberwolves it was likely the 30-year-old guard would be dropped from the team’s rotation, which is expected to consist of eight players.
“Obviously, 16 (regular season) games to go, (we’re going to) try to find a rhythm,” Malone said, via The Denver Post. “And a rotation that I feel gives us the best chance to win now, and into the playoffs.”
Malone did not play Thomas in Tuesday’s victory.
It’s not uncommon for teams to cut down the number of players that see minutes ahead of the postseason, and Malone said he explained that to Thomas.
“Oh, you definitely talk to him (about the decision), and I’ll keep that conversation between IT and myself,” Malone said. “(It’s) not an easy conversation, but that’s my job.
“It’s never about Isaiah. It’s never about any individual,” Malone added. “It’s about what I think is best for our team. And I made the decision to shorten the rotation, only played eight guys in the first quarter. And I’m going to continue to do that for the time being.”
Thomas has appeared in just nine games for the Nuggets this season, averaging 15.6 minutes. The two-time All-Star put up 8.6 points per game with 1.7 assists off the bench.
The Nuggets travel to Boston on Monday to take on the Celtics at TD Garden, a matchup Thomas said he couldn’t wait for.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images