At '80 percent,' Thomas set for first start for Cavaliers

NBA.com Global on Jan 07, 2018 07:48 AM
At '80 percent,' Thomas set for first start for Cavaliers
Isaiah Thomas NBA file photo

NBA.com staff report

Isaiah Thomas had a solid debut on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), scoring 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting in the Cleveland Cavaliers' win over the Portland Trail Blazers. His quickness and ability to get into the paint could take the Cavs' offense, which currently ranks fourth in the league, to a new level.

But Thomas, who will start Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Orlando, after missing Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) game in Boston, still has a ways to go before he's at 100 percent, as ESPN's Dave McMenamin writes ...

Thomas made his Cleveland Cavaliers debut Tuesday, coming off the bench to score 17 points in 19 minutes in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers. And he'll make his first start with the Cavs on Saturday, taking over the spot that Jose Calderon filled as a stopgap solution, when Cleveland plays the Orlando Magic. His minute restriction will be loosened, if only incrementally.

"I don't think it will feel that much different," Thomas said Friday when asked whether he'll be able to tell how an extra five or so minutes will affect him. "I'm trying to get them to let me play a little more. Especially [because] I played all right the first game that I played, so I'm -- trust me -- I'm on them about playing a little more because for the most part I feel fine. I'm a little sore, and I expected to be sore and a little stiff, but for the most part, my body feels good."

Just how good? As prideful as Thomas is, the two-time All-Star admits he isn't returning at full throttle.

"Man, 80 [percent], probably," he said when asked to measure where he is. "Like, I'm not in any type of shape. And then on top of where I want to be physically, I'm not as powerful as I want to be and explosive. But that's going to come with a lot of [practice] reps and game repetitions. So, I'm getting close, but it will probably take a while until I feel like I did last season."

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