Breakdown of a Bad Break: Cavaliers Adjust to the Loss of Shaquille O’Neal

March 1st, 2010 by Tom Delamater Leave a reply »
The news reverberated not only in Northeast Ohio Sunday, but throughout the NBA.

Shaquille O’Neal’s right thumb injury isn’t just “significant,” as TNT’s David Aldridge so accurately reported just minutes after it happened Thursday night in Boston. It’s serious—as in requiring surgery, and a lengthy recuperation period of six to nine weeks.

With seven weeks remaining in the regular season, it means the Cleveland Cavaliers will finish the year without their starting center. He’ll likely make it back in time for the playoffs, but an exact timetable won’t be known until after the surgery.

Combined with the Cavs' recent trade that leaves them, at least for now, without Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the impact is even more significant.

Anderson Varejao, most comfortable as a supersub power forward, slides into the pivot to assume O’Neal’s role in the middle.

How the loss of O’Neal will affect the Cavaliers, pro and con, won’t immediately be known. Here are some of the potential positives and negatives that could result from Shaq’s pending absence fr ...

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