J.R. Smith to return to action for Cavaliers on Thursday night

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are about to get one of their two injured starters back.

J.R. Smith, who has been out since Dec. 21 following surgery to repair a broken thumb, will return to the lineup on Thursday night against Detroit, coach Tyronn Lue announced pregame.

But Smith had already said he was back.

This is a big boost for the Cavs. Smith will come off the bench until he gets his conditioning back, but he was scoring 8.6 points per game and was part of a starting five that Lue leaned on heavily, and that outscored opponents by 11.6 points per 48 minutes.

While Smith was out, the Cavaliers added Kyle Korver and Deron Williams. Still, Smith brings another weapon, another gunner to a team that already is the clear favorite in the East.

Kevin Love remains out and may be until around the start of the playoffs.