O’Neal has surgery to repair injured thumb

Shaquille O’Neal had surgery on his injured right thumb Monday and the Cleveland Cavaliers say he will be out up to 8 weeks.  This is probably a blessing in disguise as Shaq can now rest before the stretch run in the playoffs. 

O’Neal was examined Sunday by specialist Dr. Thomas Graham at the National Hand Center in Baltimore. Graham performed the surgery.

The recovery timeline means O’Neal may not be ready by the time the NBA playoffs start April 17. The Cavaliers acquired O’Neal last summer with an eye toward the postseason, after Dwight Howard(notes) and Orlando eliminated Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals.

O’Neal has played well for the Cavaliers, averaging 12 points and 6.7 rebounds in 53 games.

He injured the thumb Thursday at Boston when his shot was blocked by Glen “Big Baby” Davis with just over 7 minutes left in the first half.

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