The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced that guard J.R. Smith will be out 12 to 14 weeks to recover from having surgery on his thumb.
The injury occurred during the Cavs 114-108 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night. Smith attempted to swipe the ball away from Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and “jammed” his finger as a result. The Cavaliers are calling the injury a “complex fracture.”
During the offseason, Smith was causing disarray with the organization by taking a long time with getting a solution for his contract. He was a free agent, but went ahead and returned back to the Cavaliers with a 4yr/$57M deal.
With Smith being out until mid-March, this now opens the door for G Iman Shumpert to contribute in a huge way. Shumpert, for the season, is averaging seven points and three rebounds per game.
The Cavaliers could also play around with some more replacements to replace Smith. During the offseason, they picked up Mike Dunleavy for his marksmanship from downtown. He is shooting 36% from three this season.
Looks like Shumpert will be given the opportunity to start at the two guard. His first test, assuming he is the starter, will be to slow down Klay Thompson during the Christmas day matchup on Sunday. Tipoff is at 1:30 p.m. central time.