J.R. Smith making rapid recovery from thumb injury

Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith, who is on target for a mid-March return, could take the court in as soon as three weeks in his comeback from a right thumb fracture, league sources told ESPN.

The sharpshooter is progressing well in his recovery from the injury that he sustained in late December, sources said. Barring an unforeseen setback, Smith will be back on the floor next month.

At the time of his injury, it was not anticipated that Smith would return to the lineup before late March or early April.

A team source told ESPN that Smith will have his right thumb reimaged during the All-Star break, and that could adjust his timeline. Asked to characterize Smith's rehab process so far, the source said, "great."

Smith is shooting with the injured hand without severe pain, sources said. He is in the process of strengthening the wrist and thumb area along with trying to get his conditioning up to speed, a source said.

Assuming Smith is able to return by mid-March, he would have roughly 16 games to regain his form before the postseason begins.

Since Smith's injury, the team has acquired marksman Kyle Korver in a trade from the Atlanta Hawks and signed wing Derrick Williams to a 10-day contract, giving LeBron James a plethora of shooters at his disposal.

Smith, a 13-year veteran, signed a four-year, $57 million extension with Cleveland in the offseason after the Cavs' Finals win. He is averaging 8.6 points per game on 33.7 percent shooting from the field and 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.