Despite the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been decimated by injuries to top-end rotation players like Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, and Tristan Thompson, to go along with Derrick Rose’s “self-imposed exile” from the team as he battles an ankle issue, the Cavs are riding a league-best 12-game win streak.
LeBron James is playing some of the best basketball of his career, which is really just 80% of what he’s capable of, according to King James himself, as he once again has himself firmly in the MVP race. The Cavaliers were 5-7 before winning their last 12, and whatever early-season struggles they were going through in October are clearly in the rearview mirror now.
The good news is both Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson are nearing their returns to the Cavaliers lineup. Thomas is so close that James is playing NBA 2K18 to determine how the Cavaliers should use him once he’s medically cleared.
Thompson is essentially day-to-day at this point as he continues to recover from a left calf strain. Before Wednesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings, head coach Tyronn Lue told Cleveland.com that he’s “not sure how he’s [Thompson] going to feel after today when he got done working out, so just trying to get a gauge on how he feels today, if there’s any soreness or pain or anything and go from there.”
Tristan Thompson also spoke to the media on Wednesday, and his comments were a lot more alarming than Lue’s. According to Thompson, the wear-and-tear of playing in the NBA has taken its toll on his body to the point where he knows he’ll never be completely healthy again, via Cleveland.com.
“When you play, what, five years straight, you’ll never be 100 percent again. That’s out the door.”
While Thompson’s comments may sound depressing, they’re warranted. Thompson is one of the NBA’s true iron men. From 2012-2016, Thompson played in 328 straight games. That means he didn’t miss a single contest for four years in a row, which is quite the accomplishment. He’s also appeared in nearly 60 playoff games over the last three years, so he’s got more mileage on his body than your typical 26-year old NBA player.
Thompson ended his session with the Cleveland media by channeling his inner LaVar Ball. “I’ll be ready to return when the front office and them say I’m ready to return,” Thompson said. “The medical team. I gotta stay in my lane like LaVar Ball said.”