For the first time since May 19, Isaiah Thomas stepped back onto an NBA court for his triumphant return. He checked into the game with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter and his body was colored with wine and gold, which looked a little strange at first.
Throughout his 18 minute playing time, there was one stand out moment for Thomas in the Cleveland Cavaliers battle against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. It wasn’t the 6 baskets he created, it wasn’t the pick-and-rolls he ran or the unfortunate technical foul he picked up. It was when Thomas tried to split 2 defenders (Damian Lillard and Al-Farouq Aminu) and crashed to the floor — only to immediately hop back up again. The fact that Thomas showed no ill-effects of that spill made his opening act as a member of the Cleveland Cavalier an unqualified success.
Isaiah’s several month rehabilitation to his injured hip took a long time to get him back on the court. The Players Tribune did an outstanding job showcasing his tedious and twisted journey, but the conclusion on this debut was a definite success for Cleveland. The focus can now shift from the anticipation of what Thomas would look like when he finally returned, to what Cleveland will look like now that he has.
Catch you Monday.