Tristan Thompson to play on minutes restriction upon return

NBA: New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Thompson might not play a ton even if his is available for the season opener.

It is unclear whether offseason acquisition Tristan Thompson will be available to play in Wednesday’s season opener for the Boston Celtics versus the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thompson, who sat out the team’s only two preseason games, is progressing from a right hamstring strain as he participated in practice again Monday after going through his first full team practice since early March two days prior.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Thompson “looked good” during the practice session and added that when Thompson does make his return he will be put on a minutes restriction.

Thompson, who signed a reported two-year, $19 million deal to join the Celtics in late November, is expected to contribute right away for Boston as a steadying interior presence. Thompson could earn a starting role that belonged to Daniel Theis last season.

Prior to this year, Thompson spent all nine seasons of his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 29-year-old Thompson played 30.2 minutes per game last season, averaging 12.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. It was the second straight season Thompson averaged a double-double in points and rebounds.

Due to Cleveland’s atrocious 19-46 record from last season and the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson hasn’t played in an NBA game since March 8.