Report: Isaiah Thomas will do G-League rehab stint before Cavaliers debut

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This is exactly what a robust minor league system is for.

Cleveland is targeting bringing Isaiah Thomas back just after the first of the year, but to make sure he gets in plenty of practices and reps, Thomas is going to spend a little time in the G-League on a rehab stint, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Injured Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas is getting closer to his return, with five-on-five practices and a likely G League stint in his immediate future….

in the coming days, the Cavs are planning to give Thomas his first chance to get in a full court five-on-five practice since joining the team following a trade with the Boston Celtics in August. The Cavs are hoping to find a way for Thomas to scrimmage with their G League affiliate, the Canton Charge, multiple team sources told ESPN. It is unclear if Thomas will travel to Canton or a collection of Charge players will come to the Cavs’ practice facility in Independence, Ohio, for the run.

If you want a date to target for Thomas’ return, they play his old team the Boston Celtics — who he would like some revenge upon — on Jan. 3. Just something to watch.

However, he’s got work to do before then in terms of convincing team doctors and the front office he is fully ready to go.

The average fan doesn’t realize how little most NBA teams get to practice during the season. Guys work out and get up shots, there are shootarounds and film sessions before each game, but with 82 games and travel a full-on practice is a luxury most teams get a couple of times a month at most. It depends on the schedule, and some coaches with veteran teams — the Clippers’ Doc Rivers, for example — cancel most of those in favor of more rest.

That makes it hard for a player returning from injury to get some real game-like run in, which is where the G-League should come in. We see players getting minor league rehab stints all the time in Major League Baseball, this is basically the same thing.