The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without J.R. Smith for an extended period of time.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Smith needs surgery on his right thumb after injuring it last night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Near the end of the first half, Smith hit swiped down while trying to steal the ball from Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. He left the game and did not return for the second half.
The reported recovery time for his injury is 4-6 weeks.
Smith, who has already missed six games this year due to injury, has started 21 games for Cleveland this season while averaging 8.6 points per game and shooting 36.2 percent from three. He signed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Cavs over the summer.
The Cavs released the following statement on Smith’s injury:
Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith experienced a right thumb injury near the end of the first half of last night’s game in Milwaukee vs. the Bucks. He was examined at halftime and images taken at the arena were inconclusive. He did not return to play. Smith received further imaging and examination in Cleveland this morning by Dr. Richard Parker at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. The results of the imaging revealed a fractured right thumb. Surgery is now required and a treatment and return to play timeline will be established following the surgery.
While Smith is out, DeAndre Liggins will likely start in his place. It also seems likely that Jordan McRae could see more time off the bench in addition to increased minutes for Iman Shumpert.