There have been few bright spots this season for the Cavaliers. One of the few had been PF Tristan Thompson, who was in the midst of his best season yet until he went down with a sprained foot at the beginning of December. Tonight, he is expected to return to the court as the Cavs take on the Miami Heat at home.
Before the injury, Thompson was averaging 12 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, both career highs. His FG% was at .551 and FT% was at .612, not the highest they’ve been in his career, but not the lowest either. He really seemed to come into his own before the injury.
Thompson’s absence from the lineup was felt. The Cavs were 2 – 8 in the 10 games he missed and other players, like rookie G Collin Sexton, have not played as well. In the 10 games prior to Thompson’s injury, Sexton scored 20 points or more in five games. S
While Sexton struggled without Thompson, the players that got more playing time in his absence, Larry Nance Jr., Channing Frye and Ante Zizic had varying levels of success. While it may not be noticeable, for young players like Nance and Zizic, getting more playing time is beneficial as they continue to grow as NBA players.
The timing of Thompson’s return is excellent for the Cavs as Zizic is reportedly out for tonight’s game due to a knee injury. Thompson may not play the 30 minutes he’s averaged on the season, but getting him back on the court is an important step.