Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith could be closer to returning than expected.
According to a report co-scribed by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Chris Haynes, could be back in three weeks and is otherwise on track for a return in mid-March. Were he to return in three weeks, he could return March 6 against the Miami Heat or March 9 vs. the Detroit Pistons.
Smith fractured his thumb on Dec. 20 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Three days later, the team announced he would be out 12-14 weeks.
If he does return March 6 or March 9, it would give him around 20 games to back into game shape and into the flow of the team. Per ESPN’s report, Smith is going to have his jump reevaluated over the All-Star break.
Smith, for what it’s worth, did take to Twitter to dispute the report and quote Sam Hinkie:
Please don't believe the hype. Still a ways to go. "Sources" means they have nothing else to wright. Trusting my process!— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) February 13, 2017
Write for my spell checkers.— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) February 13, 2017
Getting Smith back in three weeks would be ideal for the Cavs. Getting him back in time to work back into the rotation - which has added Kyle Korver in his absence - in time to peak during the playoffs. But it’s more about how healthy his thumb is and if he’s actually good to go. Perhaps his All-Star break check up will shed some more light.