Report: Could Isaiah Thomas be out until 2018? To All-Star break?

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When nobody has an answer — or, in this case, a definitive timeline — rumors will fill in the gap. The NBA rumor mill abhors a vacuum.

Nobody is exactly sure when Isaiah Thomas, now officially a Cavalier, will return to the court. He is optimistic, the Cleveland doctors were less so, which led to the dragged out second phase of negotiations and the Cavaliers getting another second round pick. There are rumors all over the map on this.

The latest comes via The Athletic and suggests we may not see Thomas until 2018.

“No one is willing to put a timeline on when Thomas might return to the court. The fact he isn’t running yet certainly is not a good sign. One source with experience dealing with the type of hip problems Thomas is facing predicted it could be January or even the All-Star break before Thomas returns to game action. That doesn’t leave much time for a new player to establish chemistry and rhythm with a team trying to compete for a championship.”

All things Thomas recovery should be taken with a grain of salt until there is a timeline established.

That said, part of the attraction of this deal for Cleveland was that Thomas and Jae Crowder would allow the Cavaliers to compete for a title again this season and still have flexibility for the future (depending on what LeBron James decides next summer). If Thomas is going to miss a healthy chunk of the season, the question isn’t will the Cavaliers make the players — they still have LeBron — but can they get it together to reach a peak level by May and June? That probably can happen, even if Thomas is out until January. They don’t have to re-invent the wheel in Cleveland, and Thomas knows his role.

Thomas will want to be back sooner than that — this is a contract year for him.