April 8, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame junior point guard Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Friday morning (April 9) at the Allied Physicians Surgery Center in South Bend for an injury that plagued him throughout the 2003-04 campaign.
Despite the injury, Thomas did not miss a game for the Irish and played in 32 contests, leading the Irish in scoring (19.7) and assists (4.7). He earned Associated Press honorable mention and second team All-BIG EAST honors for the second consecutive year. Thomas led the Irish in scoring in 22 contests and in 13 of the last 14 games. In addition, he topped the 20-point mark on 16 occasions, scoring a career-high 39 points (one of two 30-point performances in '03-'04) against Saint Louis in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Thomas averaged 38.3 minutes per game and logged 40 minutes in 12 contests during the season.
Thomas has played and started all 99 games of his Notre Dame career and currently ranks as the school's career assist leader with 638 (6.4 aspg.). Heading into his senior season, he stands eighth all-time in career scoring (1,783 points for an 18.0 career average) and third on the career steals list (184). Thomas' 99 consecutive starts ranks second all-time and he is tied for fifth in career starts. He is the only player in Notre Dame history to register 200-plus assists in back-to-back seasons (252 in 2001-02 and 236 in 2002-03).
As a freshman, Thomas was named the 2001 Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News and was named the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Year.
"Chris' surgery doesn't come as a surprise; we knew all year that this was going to be something that would occur at the end of the season." Irish head coach Mike Brey said. "He played and practiced all year long with persistent pain and swelling in his left knee. What is most remarkable is that Chris didn't miss a game and was able to lead us in scoring most nights. That's a testament to him and the competitor that he is. I'm relieved for Chris that he is finally able to have the surgery so that he can once again play and practice without the daily pain he experienced this year."