J.R. Smith out longer than initially anticipated after surgery

By Jordan Heck 23 December 2016
J.R. Smith out longer than initially anticipated after surgery

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith will be out 12 to 14 weeks, according to a statement released by the team on Friday.

The talented guard needed surgery to fix a "complex fracture of his right thumb." When the surgery was first reported, the estimated recovery time was four to six weeks, but the injury is clearly more complicated than first anticipated.

This means Smith likely won't be in the Cavs' line-up until about a month before the playoffs begin.

His absence will be no doubt be a huge blow, but the team remains confident they can play on without him.

"It's tough when you lose guys who mean so much to the success of our team," LeBron James told reporters on Thursday. 

"Obviously it's going to be a while until we get J.R. back so it's next man up and guys have to fill in. Guys have to fill in and play their role and not play J.R.'s role, you can't. J.R. is a special talent so you don't try to play his role. You just try to do more of your role and try to help the team win. So hopefully we can get that."

The Cavs are already dealing with injuries to Chris Andersen and Mo Williams, so Smith's absence leaves them thin.

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