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Cavs Notes

Smith cleared for return; Bogut done for year

Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith is listed as questionable for the game tonight in Detroit, but there's no question he'll be back soon.

"It's a weird situation, I guess," Smith said after going through a full practice Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. "Physically I'm fine. Mentally, going in there and swiping at the ball, diving for loose balls, that plays a factor.

"You never really want to go into any type of game or whatever you do second-guessing yourself. If I second-guess myself, I won't play. If I feel like I'm not going to, then I'll play."

Out since fracturing his right thumb Dec. 20, Smith's imminent return to game action highlighted a busy day when it came to Cavs injury updates.

Swingman Kyle Korver won't play tonight due to left foot soreness, but will accompany the team on its three-game road trip and will continue receiving treatment. The fact Korver is traveling indicates he might play before the Cavs return home for a Tuesday night game against the Pistons.

Center Andrew Bogut, meanwhile, is officially done for the season and playoffs after fracturing his left leg Monday vs. Miami. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp next season.

The 32-year-old Bogut, who will be an unrestricted free agent, underwent additional imaging and evaluation Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic. His tibia was set and he is undergoing non-surgical treatment.

Finally, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who has been battling a sinus/inner ear issue for 10 days and was not on the bench Monday vs. the Heat, did not attend practice or travel to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, but is expected to join the team today and be on the sideline tonight.

The best news of all, of course, was Smith's return to the practice court.

"Stamina-wise I'm fine," he said. "I've been working hard in the gym. Obviously it's not the same as playing in a game, but stamina-wise I'm fine. My thumb, it feels good. It's mental now."

Smith played three-on-three Monday prior to the Heat game, with teammates James Jones and DeAndre Liggins also taking part. The final hurdle is playing in an actual game, and if that doesn't occur tonight, it will happen soon.

"In this situation, I kind of pushed myself to the limit," the 31-year-old said. "When I was able to shoot and they told me not to dribble, I was dribbling a little bit. It probably wasn't the smartest thing, but I know my body. Honestly, my confidence has gotten better the last few days."

Smith has also been dealing with off-court issues, as daughter Dakota, the youngest of his three girls, remains hospitalized after being born five months early and weighing 1 pound.

"It's probably been one of the toughest years, if not the toughest year, for me on and off the court," he said. "It's part of the process, I guess. I think it will just make the story better."

Smith has played in just 21 games this season and was struggling prior to the thumb injury, averaging 8.6 points on .337 shooting from the field, .362 on 3-pointers and .778 at the line.

He will have to integrate himself back into a team that has added Korver, Derrick Williams and Deron Williams, with another adjustment coming when Kevin Love returns from a knee injury in three-to-four weeks.

"Fortunately, we're a deep team," Smith said. "We've got enough pieces to get it done through the regular season. What's going to be tough, once we get everybody together, is getting on the same page.

"The good part is we're all veterans," he added. "I would say it shouldn't be that hard, but I don't want to put my foot in my mouth."

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.

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