Isaiah Thomas isn’t ready for his season to end.
The point guard missed his 10th consecutive game Saturday because of a right quadriceps contusion when the Kings lost to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.. But he could return for Wednesday’s season finale against Phoenix.
Thomas, who worked out before the game, has lobbied to play tonight against Minnesota. Coach Michael Malone would prefer to have Thomas practice before he takes the court and said he wouldn’t play Thomas tonight.
“We’ve already had that talk,” Thomas said. “He said he would like for me to get a practice in, but I told him I would like to play (tonight), so we’ll see.”
Thomas was injured March 23 when he was kneed by Milwaukee center Zaza Pachulia while chasing guard Brandon Knight.
“After the MRI where the doctor said the bruise was so deep it was right next to the bone, that’s when I knew why it was taking so long,” Thomas said. It’s been tough, especially being out with a thigh bruise, but it is what it is. I’m trying to play.”
While Thomas’ recovery has been slow, Malone has not ruled him out for the season.
The Kings have been impressed by rookie Ray McCallum’s play in place of Thomas, but they still would like to see Thomas back on the court.
“If he’s not going to go out there and do any further damage and he’s working so hard to get back and he wants to play, I have no problem with him doing so,” Malone said. “He’s having a great year for us. He’s been a leader, a great worker. If he wants to get out there and play and he’s cleared from our medical staff, I’m going to give him that opportunity.”
Thomas is averaging career highs of 20.7 points and 6.4 assists, good numbers entering an offseason when he will be a restricted free agent.
Just don’t try convincing Thomas it’s OK to sit out much longer.
“I just love playing,” he said. “I’m young, and I like playing. We’re not playing for anything right now, but I want to be out there.”
Thomas said even his friends have asked why he is so determined to come back through an injury for a team that has the third-worst record in the Western Conference.
“This is my first time in my career I’ve ever been out of games for injuries, and it’s been killing me,” Thomas said. “I just want to get out and play and be around the team and try to win. That’s all it’s about.”