Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith will miss the next few months after undergoing surgery to repair his right thumb, the team reported on Friday.
“The surgery was performed by renowned hand surgeon Dr. Thomas Graham of Northwell Health of New York. Dr. TJ Reilly of the Crystal Clinic assisted. Also present was Dr. Richard D. Parker of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. Smith will now undergo a period of recovery and rehabilitation for his thumb and his return to play timeline is currently projected at 12-14 weeks.”
This is confirmation of a report that came out earlier this week, and it means the Cavaliers be counting on Iman Shumpert and probably Jordan McRae to make up the difference in Smith’s absence.
Cleveland is hot, having won eight of their last nine games. With a record of 21-6, the Cavs are operating at a high capacity to open the season. They’ve done most of their damage without Smith playing at the top of his game, too. Averaging just 8.6 points while not adding much on the boards, he’s not playing up to the level we saw during Cleveland’s championship run last season.
With that in mind, it might be a good thing in the long term for the Cavs that he’s going to miss extended time. However, if he can get back into a groove at the end of the season and contributes from the outside as Cleveland moves into the playoffs, then this team will be all the more dangerous.