WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A source close to Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas told ESPN that his camp has ruled out a return before Christmas, taking Tuesday's road game against the Milwaukee Bucks and Thursday's home game against the Chicago Bulls off the table for his Cavs debut.
Thomas has been recovering from a hip injury suffered in last season's playoffs since he was dealt to Cleveland in the offseason trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. But Thomas has yet to practice with the Cavs in a full-court, 5-on-5 setting, multiple team sources told ESPN. Part of the reason for that is Cleveland, a veteran-laden team that has reeled off 18 victories in its past 19 games, rarely practices.
The Cavs are scheduled to hold a practice in San Francisco on Christmas Eve. But it would seem rushed for Thomas -- who has missed seven months with a torn labrum and other complications in his hip -- to play against the defending-champion Golden State Warriors just 24 hours after his first full practice, no matter how good he is feeling.
Following the Warriors game, the Cavs play the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 27, and then they have a one-day retreat planned in Napa, California, after that contest, which one source close to Thomas described as a "nice environment" for the two-time All-Star to "get ready" to play his first game. A Cavs source described the Napa excursion as a "nice way to break up a long trip."
The Cavaliers finish their three-game road trip on Dec. 30 against the Utah Jazz.
The Cavs' official timeline for Thomas' recovery provided to the media in late September called for Thomas to be playing games by the first of the year.
Yahoo Sports reported Sunday that Thomas was targeting the first week of January for a return.
"I don't know where that came from, but I hope so," Lue said following the Cavs' 106-99 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday. "I hope it's accurate."
When asked if he was consulted on Thomas' return timeline, Lue said, "That's not my job. When he's ready to play, I'm ready."
A team source told ESPN that the final determination for when Thomas would play would be a joint decision agreed upon by Thomas, the Cavs' front office and the Cavs' medical staff.
Cleveland plays the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Jan. 2, followed by the Boston Celtics on the road Jan. 3.
In the months since he joined the Cavs, Thomas has repeatedly referenced his motivation to get vengeance against Boston.