It was only two years ago Isaiah Thomas enjoyed an MVP-caliber season with the Boston Celtics.
Since then, it's been a rough ride for the 5-foot-9 point guard. Thomas hasn't played a full season since 2016 largely due to a nagging hip injury, appearing in only 12 games with the Denver Nuggets in the 2018-19 campaign coming off hip surgery.
Now, as he prepares to enter free agency, Thomas believes he can put in the work to return to form as one of the league's top guards.
"Nobody knew what to expect with me coming off hip surgery last year, and two summers of rehab," Thomas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. "Now I can go back to being a gym rat this summer, work on my game again and build my body back up --- my muscle mass, my leg strength -- all like I had going into the 2017 season."
Although Thomas never got to contribute to the Nuggets at the level he had hoped, the 30-year-old lauds the organization for helping him get healthy.
"Denver allowed me to take really as much time as I needed, to get back to 100 percent health," he said.
Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds with the C's in 2016-17 before suffering the hip injury in the postseason and being traded to the Cavaliers in the offseason for Kyrie Irving. He was a second-team All-NBA selection that season and appeared well on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star before his career took a sudden turn.
Now, with those dark times in the rearview, Thomas is ready to prove he still has plenty of those incredible Celtics moments in him.
"I'm going to get back to a level that I was playing at," Thomas said. "I'm excited to show what I can do again."
We'll find out Thomas' new home soon enough, as NBA free agency begins on June 30.
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