Shaquille O'neal injured his right thumb last week in a game against the Celtics and now is going to miss the rest of the regular season and probably the first week of the playoffs recovering from surgery. While the Cavs are still a lock for the playoffs and a run to at least the Eastern Conference semis, and probably the Conf finals, its got us very worried that the big showdown in the NBA Finals we had all been anticipating wont be happening - or at least wont be as interesting.
The storyline of Lebron James and the Cavs coming in as the dominant #1 from the East and taking on Kobe's Lakers had to have David Stern & Phil Knight salivating along with us. Add in Shaq's return to Staples (the home he claims to have built) in search of his 5th ring and it had all the makings of the first epic showdown since the Magic-Bird days of the 80's.
Particularly with the Lake-show's win yesterday over the Nuggets, their place at the top of the West looks more solid than ever (although Dallas is coming on strong). While Shaq's injury definitely doesn't rule this battle royal from taking place, but it definitely throws a wrench in the plans and must have teams like Boston and Orlando thinking that they have a shot at getting back to the Finals again this summer.