ST. HELENA, Calif. — Isaiah Thomas tried to force the Cavaliers to play him earlier this week against Sacramento.

It didn’t work, and now neither he nor Coach Tyronn Lue knows precisely when the All-Star point guard will make his Cleveland debut.

“I thought I could do that,” Thomas said. “I tried it in Sac and they shut me down and I was upset about it, but I mean, they’re looking out for what’s best. Not just for this team but for myself and not just this season, but my career.

“So I can’t thank them enough for putting me in that position. Anybody else would probably be like, ‘If you feel ready, go out there.'”

Lue jokingly said he tried to force (trainer Steve) Sibel and (physical therapist George) Spiro to clear Thomas that day, too.

Lue declared Thomas out for Saturday night’s game against the Utah Jazz and said he will participate in another scrimmage with teammates on New Year’s Day. Thomas also said he doesn’t know when he’s coming back. It’s not up to him, obviously.

“The situation goes through Steve and George and when the medical staff clears him and he says he’s ready to play and ready to go, and they’re comfortable with it then that’s when we’ll make the move,” Lue said. “It’s not up to me, it’s not up to Isaiah, it’s up to the medical staff. And when they make the decision, that’s when we cut him loose.”

Lue also said Thomas would not initially play in games on consecutive nights, which would seem to complicate the timing of Thomas’ return, if it is indeed this coming week. Thomas has said for a while now that he’s been strong enough physically to play in an NBA game, but that he wasn’t far enough along to play at the level he’s used to playing. He was third in the NBA in scoring last year at 28.9 points per game.

The Cavs play at home Tuesday against Portland, and then Wednesday against the Celitcs in what would be Thomas’ return to Boston.

Thomas hasn’t played this season because of multiple hip injuries suffered last season in Boston. The Celtics traded him to the Cavs for Kyrie Irving in the offseason, and Thomas hasn’t played since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavs in May.

“I haven’t even thought about that part,” Lue said. “It’s an emotional game and playing a back-to-back and being in Boston, that is big. But we have to see how he comes out of this one today and just see how he feels and we’ll focus on that going forward.”

Thomas said he would “love” to play against the Celtics, but didn’t know if he would.

“That would be a pretty fun game to play in, but like I said, I don’t know,” he said. “We’re going to see how (it) goes. See how I feel tomorrow and hopefully I could be able to play in the game.”


HEAT 117, MAGIC 111: Tyler Johnson scored 22 points in the third quarter and Goran Dragic had 14 in the fourth to help Miami overcome an 18-point deficit and win at Orlando, Florida.

KNICKS 105, PELICANS 103: Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points, Jarrett Jack made two free throws to break a tie with nine seconds remaining and New York won at New Orleans.

PISTONS 93, SPURS 79: Andre Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Detroit, at home, held San Antonio to its lowest point total of the season.

HAWKS 104, TRAIL BLAZERS 89: Dennis Schroder scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, Marco Belinelli added 14 points and Atlanta won at home.

JAZZ 104, CAVALIERS 101: Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points, and Utah won at Salt Lake City to hand Cleveland its third straight defeat.