Surprise, surprise: the Boston Celtics don’t know when Shaq will return to action. (WEEI)
Rivers said Shaq will not play Thursday in Chicago. As for Friday vs. the Wizards: “I doubt it.” Sunday vs. the Heat? “Maybe.”
Said Rivers: “We’re going to be very cautious with him. I would like to play him a couple of games, but only if he’s feeling great. If not, we’ll just wait.”
As I wrote yesterday, the Celtics can afford to take their time with Shaq. He proved (albeit quite briefly) he can come back to the court after a long layoff and still make an immediate impact.
The problem? Staying on the court once he returns. Shaq’s body isn’t like a normal body. It’s more like my mom’s old car, which we called Bessie. The fabric on the ceiling of the car was falling apart, and we had to use a dozen or so thumb tacks to hold it up. As long as all the thumb tacks stayed in, the car was a perfectly nice ride. Smooth, comfortable, fast, all that. The problem was, getting through a ride with all the thumb tacks intact almost never happened.
Once one thumb tack came undone—all it took was one—the fabric came swinging off the ceiling and started to smack us in the face like a Dwight Howard elbow. My cousins and I would attempt to hold it up with our hands, but debris still fell everywhere. My mom would then try to keep driving through the windstorm of broken car, but she would alternately A) have her vision clouded by chunks of the ceiling, falling like balls of hail, B) take a swinging car ceiling straight to the face, and C) hear one of my cousins in the back, screaming like he just got shot because a small, furry piece of the ceiling had softly struck him on top of his head. Inevitably, my mom would have to pull over the car to avoid an accident and re-thumb tack the ceiling, a process that could take far too long if we needed to get somewhere.
My point? If one of Shaq’s thumb tacks comes falling out, it’s all coming down. And because he’s 39 years old, because he weighs four metric tons, one of those thumb tacks could very well come undone during the playoffs. In fact, I’d be shocked if Shaq played the entire playoffs without an injury. The Celtics will have to pull over, re-thumb tack him together, and hope he stays in one piece the rest of the ride.
On a brighter note, at least Jermaine O’Neal’s playing good ball. And for the one of the first times this season, my Jermaine O’Neal compliment was not dripping with sarcasm.