J.R. Smith successfully underwent surgery on his right thumb on Friday. However, the timeline for his recovery has been extended beyond the original estimate of 4-6 weeks.
In a press release, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that Smith is expected to miss 12-14 weeks as he rehabilitates his thumb. This would mean that Smith will likely return about a month prior to the playoffs starting.
While it’s good that he is not projected to miss playoff games and will have time to work his way back, the news is still very concerning for the Cavaliers. As Carter pointed out earlier this week, the lack of depth is becoming an issue.
Managing the load for the Cavs core in order to have them healthy and rested for the playoffs should be a top priority. Smith missing an extended period of time means that the team will be down a guard in an already thin guard rotation. DeAndre Liggins has performed well recently, but his history of being in and out of the league requires the Cavs to not consider him a sure thing.
A trade of some sort has always seemed likely this season. But it’s unclear as to what holes the team will address via trade, and which will be filled off the buy-out and free agent markets.
If there was a time for an injury like this to occur, it would be now. But it increases the urgency to find reinforcements to prevent wear and tear for the load carrying members of the team. A group that seems to be shrinking by the day.