Let's start with this: Mikki has been playing hard, and playing hurt, to help a miserably bad team. That he has been terrible is no criticism of his character. He seems like a very nice guy and a good teammate. Mikki is deserving of the description "warrior", and in the classical sense, not the tawdry Cohanian sense. Best of luck to him on his surgery... here's hoping he comes out of it more able to help us, or whatever team he plays for next.
In a cold-hearted basketball sense, there is no question that this will make us dramatically better. As I just finished typing, Mikki has been the least effective NBA player to receive significant minutes... crossing a guy like that off of your lineup sheet is an unequivocal positive in terms of winning games. Be not fooled by the media suggestions that his loss makes us even smaller; Mikki was playing very, very small.
Until Biedrins and/or Turiaf comes back, this guarantees larger roles for both Anthony Randolph and Chris Hunter -- not even Nellie can smallball his way around them at this point. Again, those are unequivocal positives. Randolph has been our most effective player thus far, and his return to the starting lineup is weeks overdue. Hunter may be an NBA-calibre player or a D-league scrub who's in over his head, but seeing as he's a dirt-cheap 25-year-old and the season is already lost, it's very much worth our while to find out which. Vlad may also wring a few more extra minutes out of this, and that wouldn't be a good thing. Still and all, the sum effect on the lineup is positive, and significantly so.
Between our return to Oracle, Nellie's re-taking the reins (in whatever nominal sense), various rising tensions and a merciless opponent, tonight's game had been feeling like one that would yield some news. It turns out the news has preceded the game. A good man has gone down; as a result, a bad team may get better.