CLEVELAND– Isaiah Thomas is nearing a return to the court.
The Cavaliers announced via press release that Thomas has been assigned to the Canton Charge. According to the release, Thomas’ assignment is for him to “officially participate in the Charge full-team practice, slated for today.”
The practice will occur at the Cavs’ practice facility in Independence. Last week, head coach Tyronn Lue said that Thomas would likely get in some practice time with the G-League affiliate, but he was unsure if that meant Charge players coming to the Cavs’ facility, or Thomas going to Canton.
On Wednesday, Thomas told Tom Withers of the Associated Press that he could play as early as next week, and that he expected to play five-on-five in the coming days.
“When that time comes to where I’ll be out there, I’m sure everybody is going to know and I’ll be out there playing the way I’ve always played,” Thomas said as he hosted a children’s holiday party Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “I’m just trying to get as close as 100 percent as possible and to be out there to be special. Not just to be out there and be another body. However long that takes — it might be next week, it might be a week after that. We don’t know and we’re really not trying to put a date on it because it just depends on how my recovery is.
“I’m ramping up my workouts, but at the same time it’s how I feel the next day, and it’s getting lighter and lighter, which is a good sign.”
Thomas was part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. He has not played since the 2016-17 Eastern Conference Finals due to a torn labrum in his hip. Last season, Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
“His attitude is getting worse and worse because he’s getting closer and closer,” LeBron James said with a chuckle when asked about Thomas. “When you get closer and closer to something you love and you want, your attitude actually gets worse.”
Without Thomas, however, the Cavs offense has been flourishing. They currently boast a 111.7 offensive rating, good for third best in the league. When Thomas comes back, the Cavs will have plenty to figure out when it comes to how he fits into the offense and what wider adjustments will need to be made. James said that as players they have not had that conversation yet, and stressed that it is up to that coaches.
“Whenever he’s ready to go we’ll be ready,” James said. ‘But he’s never had a timetable here. When he’s ready to go and the training staff gives him the OK and the docs give him the OK, it will be an exciting time for our team.”