Bogut ruled out for year, broken leg won't require surgery

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Andrew Bogut has been ruled out for the rest of the regular season plus the playoffs because of his fractured left tibia, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced Wednesday.

Bogut, who signed with Cleveland last week, played just 58 seconds in his debut with Cleveland on Monday before colliding with the Miami Heat's Okaro White and suffering the injury. Bogut will not undergo surgery on his leg, but rather undergo "an extended period of immobilization and healing stimulation," according to the team. He is expected to be fully healthy by the start of training camp for the 2017-18 season.

Cleveland plans to waive Bogut in order to free up a roster spot to replace the big man who was brought in for his rim-protecting and play-making abilities, a team source told ESPN. Bogut plans to rehabilitate back in his native Australia with his family.

The Cavs could waive an additional player -- DeAndre Liggins would be the most likely candidate -- to mitigate the cost hit it would require to replace Bogut, the source told ESPN. Bogut cost the Cavs nearly $1 million in salary tax and luxury tax fees. Bringing in another player would cost an additional $1 million. If Liggins was waived and another team picked up the defensive specialist before he cleared waivers, the Cavs would receive some cap relief as Liggins' new team would be on the hook for his salary for the rest of the season.

The Cavs plan to make their roster adjustment following their upcoming three-game road trip through Detroit, Orlando and Houston, a source told ESPN. They are more likely to target a free agent and make an offer than to hold an audition-type workout as they have done already with Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, Kirk Hinrich, Jordan Farmar and Larry Sanders without tendering any offers.

The Cavs also announced that J.R. Smith returned to practice Wednesday for his first full session since fracturing the thumb on his right (shooting) hand in December. He is considered questionable for Thursday's road game against the Detroit Pistons.

Smith is medically cleared to play. He said his final hurdle is the mental barrier of full-tilt competition for the first time since Dec. 20.

"Mentally I just [am thinking about] going in there, swiping at the ball," Smith said. "Diving for loose balls. That plays a factor and you never really want to go into any type of game or whatever you're doing second guessing yourself. So, if I got to second guess myself, I won't play. If I feel like I'm not going to, then I'll play."

Smith's initial timeline for recovery was 12-14 weeks. Should he return on this upcoming road trip, he will beat that estimate by about two weeks, as ESPN reported he was in line to do last month.

Cavs assistant coach Larry Drew filled in for head coach Tyronn Lue on Wednesday and was impressed by Smith's showing.

"He didn't shoot it rusty," Drew said. "He's still shooting the ball extremely well, but it's a totally different story once you start getting up and down the floor. We understand that, but it's really good to have him back."

While Smith is on the comeback trail, Cleveland will be without Kyle Korver on Thursday, who was ruled to receive treatment on his sore left foot.

Lue continues to recover from a sinus infection that caused him to miss Monday's 106-98 loss to the Heat. He did not attend Wednesday's practice but is expected to join the team Thursday and coach in Detroit.

Smith said the Cavs' biggest challenge between now and the playoffs will be integrating his game back into a team that now features Korver, Deron Williams and Derrick Williams, while also factoring Kevin Love into the mix when he returns from knee surgery later this month, not to mention whatever piece Cleveland brings in for Bogut.

"It will be difficult," Smith said, "but being down 3-1 [in the NBA Finals] is difficult."