O'Neal will miss 8 weeks
Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal had surgery on his injured right thumb yesterday and seems likely to miss the rest of the regular season.
If he gets back for the playoffs, though, O'Neal is promising to make up for his time out.
O'Neal will miss about eight weeks, the team said. He was examined Sunday by specialist Dr. Thomas Graham at the National Hand Center in Baltimore, who performed the surgery yesterday morning.
"Will be out for a min but when I return it is on," O'Neal posted on his Twitter account yesterday morning. "Win da ring for da king! Luv my team, Cavs baby!"
The recovery timeline means O'Neal, who turns 38 on Saturday, may not be ready for the start of the playoffs April 17. The Cavaliers acquired him last summer with an eye toward the postseason, after Dwight Howard and Orlando eliminated them in the Eastern Conference finals.
Cleveland leads Orlando by six games for the best record in the East.
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.
VETERAN SWINGMAN FINLEY WAIVED
San Antonio waived swingman Michael Finley after nearly five seasons, giving the 15-year veteran a chance to finish the season with more playing time elsewhere.
The Spurs said they honored Finley's request to be released from his contract, which was in its final year after he exercised a $2.5 million option this season. Finley, 36, will be eligible to sign with a playoff contender.
Finley lost his starting job this season and missed several weeks with a sprained ankle. He appeared in only 25 games, averaging 3.7 points and 1.5 rebounds.
Celtics: Boston captain Paul Pierce says he is ready to return after missing three games with a sprained right thumb. Pierce practiced with the team yesterday and said he expected to play today in Detroit against the Pistons.