Cavaliers’ head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed to reporters, including ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (via Twitter), that point guard Isaiah Thomas will make his season debut tomorrow night against the Trail Blazers. Thomas will come off the bench and will play on a minutes restriction, per Lue.
Since Thomas will not play in back-to-back games for a while, he will miss Wednesday night’s contest against his former team, the Celtics, in Boston. While the Cavaliers will attempt to ease Thomas into game action, he is ready to play at full speed.
“My hip is better but I have no rhythm … It feels like I lost my powers … but once I get out there it’s going to be too hard to hold me back,” Thomas said, per McMenamin (via Twitter).
Thomas, 28, has been rehabbing from a hip injury he suffered in last year’s postseason while he was still with the Celtics. After he was traded from Boston to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving trade, the Cavaliers expected to be without Thomas for several months. With Thomas back after 36 games, Cleveland will have him for more than half of the remainder of the season.
The two-time All-Star brings a natural scoring ability that the Cavaliers — losers of four of their last five games — have lacked. In 76 games for the Celtics last season, Thomas averaged an Eastern Conference-best 28.9 PPG, finishing fifth in the NBA Most Valuable Player voting. In his absence, the Cavaliers have tried several players at point guard, including Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, and most recently, Jose Calderon.
If healthy, Thomas will be another scoring threat for a Cleveland team led by superstar LeBron James.