Isaiah Thomas appears to be on the final stretch of battling back from a hip injury that has kept him sidelined for the first 36 games of the regular season, but that’s not stopping the Cavaliers from continuing to limit his playing time.
It was a big week for Thomas as he made his long awaited Cavaliers debut Tuesday against the Blazers. His minutes were limited in his return, and he sat out Wednesday against his former team, the Celtics, as coach Tyronn Lue said he would avoid playing Thomas in back-to-back games.
As much as the two-time All-Star wants to be on the court, he admitted that he is returning at “80 percent,” and “it will probably take a while until I feel like I did last season.”
“Like, I’m not in any type of shape,” Thomas said, per ESPN.com. “And then on top of where I want to be physically, I’m not as powerful as I want to be and explosive. But that’s going to come with a lot of [practice] reps and game repetitions. So, I’m getting close.”
Despite how much the Cavs could benefit from having Thomas on the court, the team doesn’t want to rush him back before he’s fully recovered. The Cavaliers are turning Thomas’ situation over to the team’s training staff, and the process has become day-to-day with no timeline.
“When will it be? I don’t know,” Lue said in response to being asked when Thomas would be 100 percent. “I mean just, when he’s feeling great. I don’t ever know the timetable on that, though. I don’t make that decision. They have their remedy, what they think works, so just kind of stick with it.”
Thomas has made huge strides in the recovery process, and his initial return was encouraging.
“It is a little hip soreness, but that’s from I haven’t played in so long and then on top of that, I’m just taking care of my body with massages and things like that,” Thomas said of his return. “So the more I get comfortable in playing in basketball games, I think the less soreness I’ll have.”
Thomas is expected to start Saturday against the Magic, and then he will have a day to rest before the Cavs play Monday against the Timberwolves.