BOSTON – The much-anticipated return of Isaiah Thomas to play against his former team will happen, but it won’t be this week.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters that Thomas, who has been out all season with a hip injury suffered when he played for the Celtics, said the 5-foot-9 all-star will make his season debut on Tuesday against Portland which means he will not play against Boston the following night.
Regardless, Thomas will be with the Cavaliers when they travel to Boston and whether he plays or not, he will be well-received by most fans upon his return.
However, it may not be as big a love fest as many envisioned with Thomas’ repeated comments regarding the trade and how it appears to still bother him months later.
Thomas spent two-plus seasons in Boston after being traded to the Celtics from Phoenix.
While some may wish Thomas would just get over the trade and move on, the two-time All-Star isn’t all that different than a lot of players who come to Boston and never want to leave for various reasons.
Thomas connected with the fan base in a way you seldom see players around here do so quickly, without having won a championship.
And it was that desire to hang Banner 18 one day, that drove Thomas to push his body to limits when in hindsight, he should have sat out and gave his hip some time to rest.
That is in part why he’s being a lot more cautious with his return, listening closely to the Cleveland medical staff and not pushing himself to come back too soon and run the risk of re-aggravating the hip injury.
When he comes back, he will have some sort of minutes restriction.
But he’ll be healthy, which is what matters most.
And the Celtics will see this first-hand. But it won’t be on Wednesday.