CAVS’ J.R. SMITH OUT THREE MONTHS WITH INJURED RIGHT THUMB
cleveland» The defending NBA champions will be without a major piece for at least three months.
Cavaliers starting guard J.R. Smith could be sidelined until the end of the regular season after having surgery to repair what the team called a “complex fracture” of his right thumb. Smith’s injury will have a major ripple effect on the Cavs, who have dealt with numerous injuries over the past two seasons.
Smith hurt his thumb late in the first half Tuesday night at Milwaukee when he swiped at the ball. The 13year veteran, who signed a four-year, $57 million contract in October, attended Wednesday’s game and sat on the bench in street clothes with his thumb immobilized in a large soft wrap, a sign that the injury was more significant than originally believed.
“Next man up; got to be ready to play,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said before Friday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. “We’re going to miss J.R.”
Smith will need 12 to 14 weeks of recovery time, which means he may not be back until early April. The Cavs play their final game of the regular season on April 12.
NBA’s new CBA ratified.
The NBA’s players ratified the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, making the terms official.
The league’s owners unanimously ratified the deal earlier this week. Both sides had until Jan. 13 to do so, after terms were agreed upon this month. The ratification process was viewed as a formality after negotiations came to an end. The document has yet to be fully drafted out.
The new deal averts a possible 2017 lockout and runs through the 2023–24 season, with a mutual opt-out available in 2022.
Sounders continue to restock
B seattle» The MLS champion Seattle Sounders continued to restock for the 2017 season by acquiring forward Will Bruin from the Houston Dynamo on Friday in exchange for general and targeted allocation money.
The trade is the second deal Seattle completed this week. The Sounders also traded for midfielder Harry Shipp from Montreal.
• Brazil playmaker Oscar will become the latest high-profile player to move to the Chinese Super League.
Chelsea said it reached a lucrative agreement with Shanghai SIPG over the transfer of Oscar, with the move to be completed at the beginning of January.
No fee was disclosed in the announcement, but British media reported the 25-year-old Oscar will move for $73.5 million in the latest show of financial strength by a Chinese soccer club.
West Virginia remains on roll
B morgantown,w.va.» Tarik Phillip scored 16 points and No. 11 West Virginia pulled away from Northern Kentucky for a 92-61 victory in men’s basketball. The Mountaineers shot 52 percent from the field, overcoming a slow start on the way to their seventh straight win. Teyvon Myers contributed 13 points, Esa Ahmad scored 12 and Jevon Carter finished with 11.
• Bryce Aiken matched his personal best with 21 points and Harvard rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final six minutes to win its fourth straight, beating Houston 57-56.
• Jared Harper scored 22 points — including a key layup in overtime — and Auburn won its fourth consecutive game, 70-67 over UConn.
Ethiopian runner Miruts Yifter died in Canada at age 72. Yifter won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics at age 40 and bronze medals at the 1972 Munich Games. … One of the key figures behind Britain’s recent success in Olympic sailing has been hired as performance director at the country’s cycling federation. Stephen Park’s appointment by British Cycling comes at a time of upheaval in the country’s most successful Olympic sport. Denver Post staff and wire services