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Lakers’ Isaiah Thomas begins rehab after hip surgery

Isaiah Thomas returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday night from New York where he had surgery on his right hip on March 29. Before the Lakers played the Utah Jazz, he reached out to head coach Luke Walton to wish him luck.

Thomas played in 17 games for the Lakers since being traded from Cleveland on Feb. 8 before his hip injury required surgery. He flew to New York to see a specialist and had arthroscopic surgery days later. The surgery sought to alleviate a problem he’s had for a full year. Thomas originally tore the labrum in his right hip in March 2017. He played with the injury, which happened because of a bone overgrowth in his hip socket, for two months and helped lead the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals.

In May, during the conference finals, the Celtics finally shut down Thomas. He needed seven months of rehab, some of it after being traded to Cleveland in August, before he could return to the court.

The Lakers appreciated Thomas’s presence and have told him that he is welcome to their facilities for as long as he needs it during his rehabilitation. That started in earnest after he returned to Los Angeles. Thomas, Walton has said, will also be welcome during the offseason for as long as NBA rules allow it. Thomas is set to be a free agent once the league year ends on July 1.

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In memory of MLK

Gregg Popovich was a sophomore at the Air Force Academy when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on April 4 1968. On that night, Popovich said he sat in a squadron room with others, silent.

“It was a sad day,” the Spurs coach said Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of King’s death.

When asked about what King’s legacy means to him, Popovich spoke first of King’s civil rights accomplishments. Popovich then spoke of King’s interest in the economic struggles facing black people.

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“[He was] additionally interested in the economic structure of the country that perpetrated continued disadvantage for the black race,” Popovich said. “That’s where he got involved in the economics and militarism and all that sort of thing. He wasn’t around long enough to see how that would work out and I think today he’d be pretty disappointed to see it hasn’t worked out very well to date. That’s sad.

“But he was quite a leader and showed a lot of courage and fortitude because I think people pretty much came at him from both sides. For his views and what he did. Especially when he decided that Vietnam was an immoral enterprise, and he was correct.”

Etc.

Lonzo Ball did not play Wednesday in part due to a left knee bruise that has kept him out four games and because of an illness that kept him away from the arena on Wednesday. … Brandon Ingram missed his third straight game while recovering from a concussion he suffered Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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