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Full scrimmage with teammates will be next step in Isaiah Thomas' recovery

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Cleveland Cavaliers will hold a rare road practice this week for the specific purpose of having Isaiah Thomas scrimmage with his teammates in a full-court, live setting for the first time since joining the team in August.

"It'll be a practice, get some shots up, cover defensive rules and principles and also scrimmage a little bit so Isaiah can get a feel and play 5-on-5," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said before Cleveland played the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

The practice will be held Friday at a Napa, California-area high school following the team's one-day excursion to wine country Thursday.

Thomas aggravated an existing hip injury in last season's playoffs and has been recovering from a torn labrum since being dealt to Cleveland in the offseason trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.

Last week, Thomas played in a live scrimmage against members of the Canton Charge, the Cavs' G League affiliate, and over the weekend posted a video of himself dunking a basketball after catching it off the bounce.

One Cavs source told ESPN that it was the first time he'd seen Thomas dunk since the team acquired him.

Cleveland, winners of 19 of its past 22 games, is putting no pressure on Thomas to return by any specific date, however anticipation is starting to grow within the organization as the two-time All-Star does more and more on the court.

"It'll be good to see," Lue said of Thomas' planned involvement Friday.

The Cavs close out their three-game trip against the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

When asked at shootaround Wednesday if Thomas could play against Utah, Lue initially said no. When a reporter followed up if Thomas' status was indeed already determined as out against the Jazz, Lue said he did not know.

The Cavs' official timeline for Thomas' recovery provided to the media in late September called for Thomas to be back playing games by the first of the year.

Thomas told the Associated Press on Dec. 21 that he could be back on the court in one or two weeks.

"When that time comes to where I'll be out there, I'm sure everybody is going to know and I'll be out there playing the way I've always played," Thomas told the AP. "I'm just trying to get as close as 100 percent as possible and to be out there to be special. Not just to be out there and be another body. However long that takes -- it might be next week, it might be a week after that. We don't know and we're really not trying to put a date on it because it just depends on how my recovery is.

"I'm ramping up my workouts, but at the same time it's how I feel the next day, and it's getting lighter and lighter, which is a good sign."

The Cavs host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, and then play on the road in Boston against Thomas' former team on the second night of a back-to-back on Jan. 3.

Thomas will be on a minutes restriction whenever he makes his debut, multiple sources told ESPN.

"Dynamic scorer. I think a guy who can score 10, 12, 14 points in a row," Lue said of the skill set that Thomas will bring to the Cavs. "Can run pick-and-roll, can come off screens. He gets to the free throw line. So he adds a different dynamic to our team offensively."

Thomas, 28, averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists for the Celtics last season.

"Play with pace," Lue continued when asked about Thomas' role. "We want to attack and score early and he can do that. It'll be exciting to get him back."

Before Thomas suits up, of course, the Cavs are also looking forward to their Napa retreat.

"Steve Kerr came up to me before the [Christmas] game and was like, 'Man, I heard you guys are going to Napa. That's really great. And it's a great time to do it,' " Lue said. "The grind of the season is long. And it will just be something special for the team. Just team bonding."

LeBron James, a noted wine connoisseur, was as excited about the trip as anyone on the Cavs.

"This is all T-Lue, this is all Coach Lue," James said of the idea for the team travel to break up the road trip. "Whatever we were going to do, we were ready for it. For us to have a unique opportunity to go travel in wine country on one of our days off, I think it's pretty cool that our coach, through a gruesome season, a long season and right now throughout the holidays when we're away from our families, for us to be able to kind of get our mind away from basketball, not being with our families, to be able to go there and learn some things and also taste some great wine. Just to decompress for 24 hours, that's pretty genuine on his behalf."