The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

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,» 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

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