Thomas (hip) could return to action sometime in December, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports.
Much has been made of Thomas' hip injury since it nearly derailed his trade to the Cavs, but after three weeks of rehabbing in Cleveland, the team's medical staff is apparently optimistic about the point guard's progress. The Cavs indicated Monday that Thomas, who has started on-court activities could be back on the floor before the end of the calendar year, and if that's the case, it would mean he'd miss somewhere around 30-35 games. With Thomas presumably out for roughly the first two months of the season, fellow new addition Derrick Rose figures to see increased minutes, with LeBron James likely spending considerable time operating as the Cavs' de facto point guard.
During Thomas' (hip) introductory press conference Thursday, GM Koby Altman said the goal is to have Thomas back "at some point this year", but he wouldn't provide a concrete timetable for a return, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post reports.
The Cavaliers continue to remain mum on the severity of Thomas' hip injury, which brings with it plenty of concerns over his availability for the start of the season. Altman's comments don't necessarily ease those concerns and without a timetable for a return, Thomas can be considered questionable for the opener. More information should become available once training camp and the preseason kicks off, but for now, it appears the Cavaliers are comfortable leaving everyone in the dark about Thomas' availability moving forward. If Thomas isn't ready at the start of the season, Derrick Rose figures to take his spot in the top unit at point guard.
The Celtics threw in a 2020 second-round pick to go along with the original trade package of Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick. There has been drama since Friday when it was announced the Cavaliers were not completely satisfied with the results of Thomas' physical. The deal was never thought to be in serious jeopardy, but there was real concern growing as the teams failed to finalize the trade in subsequent days. The issue at hand was the status of Thomas' hip. He informed Wojnarowski earlier in week, "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again." Given that the Cavaliers only got a future second-round pick, the information they learned at the physical was presumably not much more than they were originally given by the Celtics. However, Thomas' status for the beginning of the regular season remains up in the air.
In an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Thomas (hip) claimed he'll come back the same player following his injury, though he didn't give a specific timetable for a return. "There's never been an indication that I wouldn't be back, and there's never been an indication that this is something messing up my career," Thomas said. "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that."
The Cavaliers and Celtics continue to work out the specifics of the last week's blockbuster deal after a slight hiccup regarding Thomas' hip stopped the trade from going final. According to the report, the Cavaliers are merely looking for a draft pick to be added to their compensation, which shouldn't pose a serious threat to getting the deal done. That said, clarity surrounding Thomas' hip has yet to be provided and the concern regarding his availability for the start of the regular season remains intact. Thomas is specifically quoted mentioning that he may not be back soon as everyone hopes, so that adds fuel to the fire that there's a chance he could be sidelined to start the year. Thomas is unlikely to be cleared ahead of the preseason schedule, but look for periodic updates on the hip over the next month once the trade goes final.
Wojnarowski added one of his sources involved in the process indicated "it's a very sensitive situation." All players in the deal must pass a physical or a deal could potentially be voided. It is far too early to tell if the trade is in actual jeopardy. However, it adds more intrigue to this already captivating story line.
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