Isaiah Thomas's hip injury, suffered during the 2017 NBA Playoffs, nearly derailed the mega-trade between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers involving star point guard Kyrie Irving.
However, the Cavs were eventually persuaded to take the rehabbing Thomas, and now are eagerly awaiting seeing their newest player show what he can do on a basketball court.
Though Thomas will likely miss at least a portion of the 2017-18 regular season, he'll be able to work out for his new team sometime this week.
According to Cleveland.com, the Cavaliers expect to have IT in Cleveland on Sunday and expect him to start rehabbing with team doctors as early as Tuesday:
"New Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas is set to arrive Sunday and begin his rehab work on his injured right hip with team doctors and training staff on Tuesday," the report says. "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."
Thomas averaged a career-high 28.9 points per game in 2016-17 and also added 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds a night. He appeared in 76 games, which may not happen this coming season, but there's no reason to think he won't be the same player when he is able to take the court.
Thomas won't have the ball in his hands nearly as often as he did in Boston, as he'll be playing alongside LeBron James, so that could help him save some wear and tear on his body.
Fortunately for the Cavaliers, they also signed free agent point guard and former NBA MVP Derrick Rose to a one-year contract this offseason.
Therefore, Rose can handle the starting duties while Thomas recovers and, when IT is back in action, he and Rose will form a dangerous 1-2 guard combo, whether with both of them on the court at the same time or with Rose backing up Thomas.
Meanwhile, the Celtics will trot out a starting lineup that features Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford this fall, making them one of the biggest challengers to the Cavaliers' Eastern Conference supremacy.
However, when the Cavs and Celtics do meet this year, it's sure to be an awkward affair on both sides, as there will be hard feelings all around in the aftermath of this shocking trade.