NBA: Cavs' guard JR Smith out for three months

Richard Jefferson and J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers react during a match in November 2016.
Richard Jefferson and J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers react during a match in November 2016.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith will be sidelined for 12-14 weeks after surgery to repair his broken thumb, the NBA champions said on Friday (Dec 23).

Smith suffered a complex fracture of his right thumb in the Cavaliers' 114-108 overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, departing the game late in the second period.

The lengthy absence of the 31-year-old will put a burden on Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and his teammates, even though Smith's averages this season of 8.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per match are far from his 12.4 points per match last season.

Cleveland, who lead the Eastern Conference with 21 victories in 21 games, are already without centre Chris Andersen for the remainder of the season after he tore a knee ligament in practice last Friday.