The answer to that question will start to come this week, when Thomas heads to Cleveland to start rehab with the team’s medical staff, reports Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Cavs don’t have a timetable of return for Thomas, the 5-9, two-time All-Star who was the biggest name player Cleveland received in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Multiple sources told cleveland.com the team “is not going to rush it” with Thomas, but is optimistic he’ll return to the court in the 2017-18 season and play at his usually high level…
The Cavs want to see how Thomas responds after a week, and then through the month of September leading into training camp before they determine a timetable. Thomas elected not to have surgery and told ESPN this week surgery was not the best course of action. All indications point to Thomas missing at least a portion of the season.
On one hand, Thomas missing part of the season is not that bad for Cleveland — they are not focused on the regular season anyway. Their season starts mid-April and runs through June. Thomas can miss time and the Cavaliers will still make the postseason and so long as he and they are healthy the Cavaliers are the team to beat in the East.
The downside is while he is out a lot more falls on LeBron James and Kevin Love to win games, wearing them down a little. Plus, it’s easier to build chemistry on the court through training camp than on the fly during the season. It’s not good for the Cavaliers that he will miss time, but it’s also not the death of their desire to get back to the Finals, either.
What matters most is that when Thomas returns, he is the Thomas of last season, the All-NBA level talent. That’s the guy the Cavaliers need, and that’s why they will not rush the process. However long it is.