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Anderson Varejao will continue to start at center for the Cavs. Former backup Zydrunas Ilgauskas, traded to Washington for Antawn Jamison, is now a free agent following a buyout from the Wizards. Ilgauskas is free to sign with any team, but will have to wait until March 21 under NBA rules should he elect to re-sign with the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers are a more up-tempo team with O'Neal out of the lineup.
"With Shaq, you have to take advantage of his size and you have to go in the paint. He gets teams in foul trouble real easy," Williams said. "Without Shaq, it'll be more pick and rolls, more drive and kicks and more 3-point attempts. We'll spread the floor out and attack the rim in different ways."
O'Neal suffered a similar injury while playing with the Magic in 1995, when he missed the first 22 games of the season when he fractured the same thumb. Counting Monday's game against New York, the Cavaliers have 22 games left in the regular season.
Cleveland also recalled rookie Danny Green from Erie of the NBA Development League on Sunday. He was assigned to Erie on Feb. 24 and played in two games for the BayHawks.
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