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UPDATE: Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith has broken thumb, needs surgery

Troy Williams, J.R. Smith

Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith (5) drives past Memphis Grizzlies’ Troy Williams (10) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


J.R. Smith left the first half of the Cavaliers eventual overtime win over the Bucks Tuesday night with a thumb injury, apparently injuring it while trying to swipe the ball away from Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was serious enough for the team to have an MRI done, but that returned inconclusive. Smith didn’t return to the game, and it’s unlikely he plays Wednesday in the second night of the home-and-home with Milwaukee.

But the Cavaliers feared from the start it could be much worse, and it appears that is the case, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

He will be out indefinitely.

Smith is a key part of the Cavaliers starting five that coach Tyronn Lue leans on heavily, and that lineup outscores opponents by 11.6 points per 48 minutes. That lineup has played 300 minutes together this season, no other Cavaliers lineup has been on the court together for more than 46.

DeAndre Liggins started the second half in Smith’s place and likely gets the call now.

There has been a rash of injuries with the Cavaliers lately. They were without Kevin Love Tuesday due to knee soreness, and Chris Andersen is out for the season with a torn ACL.