Near the end of the first quarter, after going up for a floater, J.R. Smith came down awkwardly on his left knee. Smith then hobbled up the court in obvious pain before a timeout was called and he laid down on the sideline.
Per the Cavs’ broadcast, Smith suffered a left knee injury and won’t return to the game. At the moment, the exact severity of his injury is not yet known. As noted by Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, Smith has been dealing with a sore left knee for ‘at least’ a week.
If Smith is in fact out an extended period of time, that’s a clear loss for the Cavs. Behind him at shooting guard, Iman Shumpert could step in as the starter and Richard Jefferson is already playing some minutes at the two. But after that - with Mike Dunleavy struggling to start the year and DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae being fringe rotation players - the Cavs’ depth gets a little thin. And if Shumpert steps into the starting lineup, coach Tyronn Lue will have to adjust the Cavs’ rotation to still fit Shumpert in as the team’s backup point guard.
We’ll update Smith’s status as we learn more.
Update - 12/5/16, 11:36 p.m.
Per the team and reports from media in Toronto, Smith is going to head back to Cleveland and get his knee checked out further. The x-rays Smith received in Toronto came back negative. At this time, it’s not clear if Smith will be available Wednesday, but it doesn’t seem likely at the moment.
More on J.R. from the Cavs: Smith will travel back to CLE to receive additional examination, imaging and evaluation at the Cleveland Clinic— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 6, 2016