Some time many moons ago, I pretty much decided to delete Jermaine O’Neal from my plans for the Celtics. Maybe he would have a positive impact at some point, maybe he wouldn’t. But I certainly won’t expect anything from him, regardless. Yet he has been working out with a trainer, and could be ready to play by next week. Wait, by next week? (Boston Herald)
The most encouraging news, according to Ainge, is that O’Neal has been able to work out for approximately three weeks without swelling. In addition to working out with a trainer, the center has been playing 1-on-1 basketball. “That’s always the challenge,” said Ainge. “He’s been working out for that long without swelling, which is a big consideration.” O’Neal also lost approximately 12 pounds during his rehabilitation. Ainge said that O’Neal may join the team when it begins a road trip this weekend with back-to-back games in Indiana and Minnesota, though it’s unlikely he would play in either game. But the trip continues with games in San Antonio (March 31) and Atlanta (April 1) – possible targets for an O’Neal return. He would also get some practice time, considering that there is a two-day gap between the games in Indiana and San Antonio. “Jermaine just looks good,” said Ainge. “We thought he would be back at the end of this month, and that’s the way it looks right now.”
Oh my goodness! In addition to working out with a trainer, Jermaine O’Neal has been playing 1-on-1 basketball!
Forgive me if I don’t sound too enthused. Not only is O’Neal’s body made of egg shells and not only has he been out of commission since January 10; but he wasn’t very good even when he did play at the season’s beginning. Until I see O’Neal making a positive impact, I’m going to cautiously expect absolutely nothing from him. If he does play well, I’ll be simultaneously thrilled and shocked. And if he doesn’t? Well, at least I no longer expect anything whatsoever.