Ba, was in top form for the Magpies last month, scoring five goals in six games despite Alan Pardew's side taking just four points from a possible 18.
The forward scored a brace twice in December, first away to Norwich City and then against West Brom at the Sports Direct Arena, but on neither occasion could Ba's goalscoring exploits prevent defeat for the Magpies.
The former West Ham forward joined Newcastle over the summer on a free transfer and has scored 15 goals in 19 Premier League matches this season, and is second only to Robin van Persie in the top scorer ranks.
Newcastle will be without the 26-year-old for up to a month with the player set to feature for Senegal in the African Cup of Natons - his final contribution came in the club's 3-0 victory over Manchester United on Wednesday.
O’Neill, meanwhile, has only been at the helm at the Stadium of Light for little over a month, but an impressive return of seven points from four matches secured the former Aston Villa boss his eighth Manager of the Month award.
The Northern Irishman replaced Steve Bruce, who was sacked by chairman Ellis Short in November after a string of poor performances.
Since the New Year, Sunderland have continued to climb up the Premier League table, as they thrashed Wigan Athletic 4-1 away from home two days after beating Manchester City 1-0 with an injury-time goal.