Isaiah Thomas Steps Up Rehab Work As Cavaliers Are Forced to Rely On Veteran

On Monday night, Tyronn Lue will turn to veteran point guard Jose Calderon when the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Detroit Pistons.

With Isaiah Thomas still recovering from a long-term hip injury, Derrick Rose out for two to three weeks with an ankle sprain, and Iman Shumpert suffering with a knee problem, Lue has been forced to rely on the 36-year-old Calderon. But there has been good news for Lue and the Cavs this week.

On Sunday, Thomas stepped up his rehab. Despite being part of the sensational trade of the summer that saw him head to Cleveland while Kyrie Irving went the other way, the 28-year-old is yet to take to the court in a Cavs jersey.

He has been recovering from a torn labrum in his right hip, but took part in an offensive drill on Sunday that he described to Cleveland.com as the “hardest I’ve run” during rehabilitation. He said afterward that it “felt good for the most part.”

Officially, Thomas is not meant to be available for the team until the new year. The two-time All Star’s progress will please Lue, but Thomas insists he won’t be rushing back.

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Isaiah Thomas Isaiah Thomas at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Independence, Ohio, September 7. Jason Miller/Getty

“I'm protecting myself, so even if they wanted me to hurry back, I'm not going to hurry back, just because I've got a long career ahead of me and an important summer as well,” Thomas told Cleveland.com.

“I've got to make sure I'm 100 percent healthy before I step out on the floor. But these guys have not rushed me one bit. They've taken their time with me and I appreciate that. Because most teams, they want you out there, especially if things aren't going well.”

So, for Monday, Calderon will stand in at point guard, a situation Lue fully expected. “We knew at some point we were going to need him,” the Cavs' head coach said, as quoted by ESPN. “He’s a great veteran to have. He gives us steady minutes, and once he gets a feel and gets comfortable out there, I think he'll be great.”

The Cavs are up to fourth in the East after going on a four-game winning run that featured victories against the Clippers, Hornets, Knicks and Mavericks. Monday night’s opponents, the Pistons, may have been beaten twice in the last three games but they’re second behind the Celtics.

Thomas’s former team is on a 15-game winning run and leading the East with ease so far. His new team will be counting the days until Thomas is back.