Jermaine O’Neal had been playing his best basketball of the season— okay, so that’s not the best compliment ever. Let’s try this again:
Jermaine O’Neal had been playing great at the time he left Boston’s bench, found team doctor Brian McKeon, and took a trip to Boston’s locker room.
Immediately my thoughts flooded with concern: “If he’s hurt, that leaves Krstic and Davis as the team’s only centers. … Please, don’t be hurt. … Well, at least the C’s still have Perkins—doh. … They don’t have Perk, but at least they still have Shaq—ugh. … Wait, I care this much about Jermaine O’Neal?”
While my mind raced with the seeds of horrible nightmares, I took solace in two thoughts: 1) He hadn’t limped on the way to the locker room, and 2) I hadn’t seen him get hurt. I figured that was a promising start. But I worried, as I tend to do when my team’s “fragile: handle with care” center seeks the team doctor and heads to the locker room, that Jermaine’s season might be over.
Alas, it wasn’t. He returned to the game a few minutes later and played well. We learned the injury was a mildly sprained wrist, not his knees, which was a welcomed treat. And now, a few days later, he tells us the injury probably won’t have any effect on his play. (ESPN Boston)
“I wore a brace the last two days, just to protect it and make sure I didn’t open the door wrong and irritate it,” said Jermaine O’Neal. “I feel fine. The swelling is down. It’s one of those situations where, I took a charge and I put my hand back before I fell. It irritated [a preexisting injury] a bit. It’s probably not going to have an affect on me.”
In case you were wondering, both Doc and Jermaine agreed that his seven second half minutes had nothing to do with the injury. I would argue with Doc’s decision to play Glen Davis instead, but Doc has earned some leeway with his late-game decisions.
P.S. — Jermaine O’Neal’s one of very few people in the world who can be completely serious while saying, “I wore a wrist brace to make sure I didn’t open the door wrong.”