Sources: Cavs All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas targeting early January for return

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4942/" data-ylk="slk:Isaiah Thomas">Isaiah Thomas</a> averaged 28.9 points per game last season. (AP)
Isaiah Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game last season. (AP)

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas is currently targeting the first week of January to make his season debut from a hip injury, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Thomas was a centerpiece of the Cavaliers’ blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in late August, with Thomas joining Cleveland while rehabilitating from a hip injury that ended his 2016-17 season in the Eastern Conference finals. He has yet to play this season but has made significant progress and likely has the ability to return now, league sources said.

Nevertheless, both the Cavaliers and Thomas have wanted to ensure he comes back — and stays on the floor for the long run without needing a game or two at times to rest due to soreness, league sources told Yahoo Sports. That has made a return unlikely for late December, which includes the marquee Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors.

Thomas is one of the NBA’s elite guards, a two-time All-Star who was a member of the All-NBA second team last season. Thomas, 28, averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 76 games a season ago, leading the Celtics to a franchise resurgence.

The Cavaliers have won 18 of their last 19 games after Sunday night’s road win against the Washington Wizards.

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