JR Smith out for at least 12 weeks after surgery on fractured right thumb
The Cavaliers will be without a key player for at least three months as JR Smith recovers from surgery. AP

J.R. Smith will miss 12 to 14 weeks after having surgery to repair his fractured right thumb, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).

The 13-year veteran sustained the injury after he came into contact with Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first half of a game the Cavs won last Tuesday.

The current season has not turned out well for the shooting guard who signed a four-year, $57 million contract with the Cavs. Smith is averaging 8.6 points (second worst in his career) while shooting 33.7 percent from the field this season (worst shooting percentage).

Judging by the timeline of his recovery, Smith is expected to be out from a month to two weeks before the playoffs begin in mid-April.  

The Cavs have replaced Smith with DeAndre Liggins in the starting lineup.

"We're going to miss J.R., his effort on defense, his tough shot making,'' Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said before Wednesday's game. "But it's no excuses for us. It's next man up, and we've got to be ready to play. We've got to do it by committee. I think our guys are ready to step up to the challenge.''

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph