Isaiah Thomas is set to make his debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday when the team takes on the Portland Trail Blazers, said Tyronn Lue the Cavs coach.
Thomas has been rehabbing his hip injury and is set to come off the bench. He is also under a minute restriction and cannot play the following night when the Cavaliers face his former team the Boston Celtics.
Thomas explained that the rehab process has been very long for him but he attacked it each day and tried to get better with each new workout. He added that he was happy the time had finally come where he would debut with his new team.
Last Friday, Thomas took part in a full-court scrimmage with and against his teammates for just the first time since he was acquired by the Cavaliers in exchange for guard Kyrie Irving during the summer.
One New Year’s Day the team practiced again which was the two-time All-Star’s last tune up before his Cleveland debut. Coach Lue said that his point guard is going to give the team a lift they need as they have lost four of their past five games.
Lue is excited to finally see Thomas ready to play knowing how much his playing style is going to change the pace of the game and his quickness and speed changes how opponents must defend the rest of the team as well.
Thomas Under Minute Restriction
Lue did not say how long Thomas would play or how long he is going to remain on the court each time he comes in to replace someone. One NBA source believes that Thomas should play between 8 and 12 minutes in his debut against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.
When asked about comparing how his body is feeling now compared to before he suffered the hip injury last March and aggravated it during the playoffs, he answered that his hip is much better now, but he lacks rhythm.
He added that his feel for the game at this point is almost non-existent. He has not played for so long he feels as if his powers have been lost, but knows that is going to all change as he starts to find himself and what he calls his powers all over again.
Looks Forward to Playing Against His Former Team
The prospect of taking on Irving on the parquet floor of TD Garden in Boston gets the energy going in Thomas, but he knows he must wait until February 11 when the Cavs and Celts meet next since he is sitting out Wednesday night’s game against Boston.
In all likelihood the Celtics have something in store to honor Thomas on Wednesday during the game even though he is not playing. Thomas is loved by the Boston fans and he believes that feeling is never going to change no matter where he plays in the NBA.
Thomas was injured during the Eastern Conference Finals last season with the hip injury and then in a huge shock to him and fans alike he was traded to Cleveland during the offseason and has worked steadily to rehab is hip.
Thomas never takes this game for granted. He was picked No. 60 overall in the NBA 2011 draft. He has always tried to be the best he can be. He added that the injury gave him even more incentive to not take anything for granted and he hopes it makes him an even better player once he finds his court rhythm once again.