If I’m reading the latest twist in the Jermaine O’Neal saga correctly — there’s a chance I’m not, since what I’m reading is pretty odd — the center has been cleared to play by a hand specialist after experiencing soreness in his wrist, but still did not suit up last night and it’s unknown when he’ll return. (Boston Herald)
The Celtics center saw a specialist in Boston yesterday, and according to general manager Danny Ainge was cleared to play. The problem is that he wasn’t ready last night after getting that clearance. …
“He’s seen the hand specialist,” said Ainge. “I just heard that he’s been cleared to play sometime soon. It’s been bothering him for awhile, but I have no idea when he’ll be back.”
I make jokes about O’Neal’s decomposing body a lot, but that’s because he makes it too easy. I normally don’t rip his toughness, at least ever since he played through a broken wrist during the playoffs (the same wrist that’s giving him problems now). But if someone’s cleared to play, he should play. It’s that easy. If the doctor says you’re good to go, you should freaking go. Grit your teeth, swallow a couple Advil and do your best. And if the doctor doesn’t say you’re good to go, then you should ask him what the hell you can do to change his mind.
I’m not complaining too vociferously. As long as everybody else is healthy, the Celtics are fine without O’Neal. Maybe even better without him. I just hope I’m misunderstanding Ainge’s quote. Because I can’t think of many things in life that would frustrate me more than a player who’s cleared to play but still doesn’t.