The big game narratively: Wednesday against the Celtics – Thomas’ old team, which he has strong feelings toward.
Now it sounds like Isaiah Thomas won’t play for the Cavaliers in 2017, and there’s doubt growing on his availability for his anticipated return to Boston Jan. 3.
Tyronn Lue was quick to rule him out for Saturday’s game at Utah, and then hedged a bit by saying “I don’t know” when asked if he was already sure Thomas wasn’t playing against the Jazz.
It’s virtually out of the question for a player to play in back-to-back games after being out since May with hip injuries. So, if Thomas were to play against the Blazers, it would be hard to believe he’d also play against the Celtics the next night, even though that’s the team which traded him to Cleveland in the offseason.
Also, there was reluctance from both the Cavs and Thomas for his first game to be a marquee opponent like the Warriors, which was among the reasons he sat out the Christmas game.
It’d be a bummer not to see Thomas in Boston. Considering he’s so comfortable with a chip on his shoulder, it’s highly anticipated to see how he’d respond.
But the Cavs aren’t trying to set up a revenge game. They’re trying to win a championship. In that regard, it’s practically irrelevant precisely when Thomas returns. He’ll clearly play soon, and there’s plenty of time to integrate him before the playoffs.
And there’s always Feb. 11, when Cleveland visits Boston again.