For Thomas, injury is a real pain in the butt

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas is used to being a pain the backside of opponents. Now it's the pain in his backside that's keeping him from being a pain.

Waddling gingerly to meet with reporters at the team's training facility on Thursday, Thomas said he's experienced uncomfortable swelling near his backside after landing hard on that region while being fouled on a drive to the hoop late in Monday's win over the Miami Heat.

Thomas sat out Wednesday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies and is expected to miss Boston's upcoming back-to-back. He's targeting a potential return on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers, but that will hinge on how the swelling subsides.

"It’s been bad," said Thomas. "It’s been hurting when I stand up, sit down, so it’s like nothing’s comfortable. I’ve been very uncomfortable the last few days. I’m just trying to get this swelling out as fast as possible, then once I can tolerate the pain, I’ll be alright."

Thomas landed hard after getting fouled by Dwyane Wade on a strong fourth-quarter drive with 3:44 remaining that helped Boston win a game against a Miami team that it's competing with for a final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Thomas initially stayed in the game, but hobbled to the locker room after checking out with 26 seconds to play.

"Even [team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] didn’t think it would blow up like that," said Thomas. "He said, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like that' -- with how deep that bruise is. Even when I was taking the MRI and things like that, the doctors said they’ve never really seen a bruise like that in that area. That’s how deep it was and how bad it is. I’ll be alright."

The Celtics announced that Thomas had both a bruised elbow and the bruised backside (dubbing it "lower back" on their injury announcement) but Thomas says the latter is decidedly more nagging at the moment.

"I don’t even notice the elbow because of how bad my butt hurts," said Thomas with a laugh. "[The elbow] hurts because I fell on it and it’s swollen, but I can tolerate that pain, it’s not a bad pain."

Thomas maintained his sense of humor about his injury, including when it was noted how teammate Brandon Bass mindlessly patted him on the backside after the injury.

"Man, twice, right? I don’t think he really knew what he was doing," said Thomas. "The first time he hit me I was like, ‘Damn!’ Then he hit me again! I don’t think he really knew -- or he must have forget that I was hurting. Those two pats on my butt killed me."

Thomas is simply relieved the injury isn't anything more than a deep bruise because the pain in the aftermath had him and team doctors concerned about a more serious malady. For now, he's icing his backside waiting for the swelling to subside. And he's chomping at the bit already to get back on the court, especially after pacing his hotel room while watching Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies.

"I hope [I'm back on Monday]. I’m tired of watching and I’ve only watched one game," said Thomas. "I hope I can play Monday. As soon as possible, as soon as I can get out there, I’m going to play. I’m moving better each and every day, but it’s still very sore."

Thomas has invigorated the Celtics, who are 7-4 since his arrival. He was the Eastern Conference player of the week in late February (and earned a nomination again this past week). Thomas is averaging 21.4 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.7 rebounds over 27.6 minutes per game in his 10 appearance.