Shaq to have surgery on injured thumb

It looks like Shaquille O’Neal’s regular season may be over.

Now the Cavaliers hope the center they acquired for the postseason will be back in time for the playoffs.

O’Neal will undergo surgery Monday to repair his injured right thumb. He was examined Sunday by Dr. Thomas Graham at the National Hand Center in Baltimore. Graham will perform the surgery.

The Cavaliers said they will update a timeline for his return following the procedure, but a typical recovery period is 6 to 8 weeks. There are seven weeks left in the regular season.

With 22 games to play, the Cavs have a six-game lead on Orlando, so I don’t think they’re in any danger of giving up the top seed in the East. The greater concern to me is what kind of shape Shaq will be in when he returns to action. Six or seven weeks is a long time for a person with his weight issues to be sidelined, and he’s already looking a little heavy. While a thumb injury shouldn’t keep him off the treadmill, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy that is going to bust his butt to stay in top physical condition.

The Cavs may very well find their groove without Shaq in the lineup, and then his return could throw a monkey wrench into the machine. The good news is that he would return during the first or second round of the playoffs, so there would potentially be a series or two for him to work the kinks out. I think the greater concern is how his return would affect the way the Cavs play offensively.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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