Isaiah Thomas: Battling rust but feeling ‘a lot better’

By David Kenyon

Isaiah Thomas recently made his long-awaited return from a hip injury and debuted for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the All-Star hasn’t encountered any setbacks so far.

Following his second appearance with the Cavs, Thomas said he felt better physically, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“I felt pretty good out there. … But my body felt a lot better. I got more of a rhythm. Early, that rust was still there. I was missing layups and free throws and things like that. But as we got going, as my body got going, I felt a lot better.”

If the biggest problem for Thomas right now is adjusting to game speed and getting more comfortable at the rim, that’s a tremendously positive sign for Cleveland.

Thomas hadn’t played a competitive game since mid-May prior to making his debut with the Cavs on Jan. 2 and starting in Sunday’s win.

He posted 17 points against the Portland Trail Blazers, didn’t play when Cleveland traveled to face the Boston Celtics — his former team — and provided 19 points opposite the Orlando Magic. Thomas has seven assists and seven turnovers, too.

The Cavs need to learn how to play with Thomas, and vice versa. Sticking an All-Star on a new roster never results in a seamless transition. There’s no doubt such a move is worth the temporary unfamiliarity, but it’s not simply a plug-and-play situation.

Thomas will continue easing back into a major role, and as long as he remains healthy, the elite production will follow.