The two-time All-Star has reportedly made “real progress” in rehab since joining the team in late August. Thomas was part of the package that Cleveland received from Boston in return for Kyrie Irving, and a dispute over Thomas’ medical condition help up the deal for about a week.
Cavaliers officials refused to answer questions about Thomas’ hip in a press conference after the deal was completed and offered no timetable for a possible return. Today’s news is the first indication of when he might be ready to play again.
Thomas suffered a torn labrum during the season and aggravated the injury in the Eastern Conference Finals, forcing him to miss the end of the series. It has been reported that he also has a loss of cartilage and some arthritis, which has slowed the recovery process.
Thomas has used a multi-faceted rehab plan to try to get back on the court, Vardon writes. In addition to weightlifting and stretching, he has been running in a pool and on a weightless treadmill and taking stationary shots on the court.
Thomas’ condition affects more than just the Cavaliers’ season. He is hoping for a max contract in free agency next summer after making about $6.3MM this year.
In other news out of Cleveland today:
- Coach Tyronn Lue says free agent addition Derrick Rose will be the starting point guard until Thomas returns, Vardon tweets. The former MVP agreed to a one-year, minimum salary deal with Cleveland in July after spending one year with the Knicks.
- The team has named Bernie Bickerstaff senior advisor of basketball operations, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).