Jermaine O’Neal will play tonight, he confirmed to reporters this morning. A day after practicing for the first time since January, O’Neal’s body felt “pretty good.” (ESPN Boston)
“You’re in there banging, the body is going to be a little sore,” O’Neal said of his first practice. “But I feel pretty good… I’m just happy to be back. We’ll take it day to day, do the maintenance… and keep [the knee] strong.”
“I think getting any guy back helps,” said Rivers. “Especially a guy with size, that always helps. And I think it helps guys mentally.”
Good news on one O’Neal, bad news on the other. Shaq might miss the rest of the regular season, Doc Rivers mentioned today. If so, Doc’s worried about integrating Shaq into the lineup on the fly. (CSNNE)
“I really hope we can get him before the playoffs,” said Rivers, who added that the injury is starting to “get close to bleeding” into the teams’ postseason plans. …
“I just don’t know because I’ve never had this situation,” Rivers said. “It’s getting to become a challenge. It wasn’t before, because I just viewed it as a regular season injury. Now it’s starting to get close to bleeding into playoffs. Now that becomes a challenge.”
Though Rivers did not seem hopeful in Shaq returning before the playoffs, Jermaine O’Neal heard differently.
“From what I understand, he will be back very, very soon,” O’Neal told ESPN Boston. “I think maybe when we get off this road trip. But we’re kinda past that stage where we need to be back. We need to be playing.”