News out of Cleveland on Monday is that Shaquille O'Neal will need surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb and will miss the next six-to-eight weeks.
The Cavaliers dealt their other aging center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, to Washington in the deal that brought Antawn Jamison to Cleveland before the deadline, and will not be forced to play with a smaller lineup.
Expect Anderson Varejao (6'11, 260) to see more action at center for the Cavs; he's averaging 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this year. JJ Hickson (6'9 240), who is averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in only 19.3 minutes could also see increased playing time in O'Neal's absense.
The biggest fantasy impact will be on Jamison. After averaging 20.5 ppg and 8.8 rpg in Washington, his numbers have predictably fallen off since joining the Cavs. In five games with Cleveland, Jamison is only averaging 14.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg. In O'Neal's absense, the Cavs should be able to open the floor and run for more of the game, and Jamison cold be the beneficiary of both shots and rebounds.