Celtics

NBA: More Return Delays for Shaq, Celtics?

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ESPN Boston

Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal received a cortisone shot in his ailing right foot Tuesday and was placed back in an immobilizing boot, sources told ESPN Boston.

The objective with the boot is to eliminate the return of swelling after his Achilles injury flared up again recently while he was trying to work his way back to game action, according to the sources. The Celtics remain optimistic that O'Neal, who has been sidelined with the injury since Feb. 1, could return next week.

O'Neal traveled with the team on a recently completed three-game road trip with the goal of participating in walk-through activities as he ramped up toward game action. But the foot that has been prone to flare-ups did so again, forcing the team to aggressively attack with the injection.

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A source told ESPN Boston on Wednesday that O'Neal would hopefully be back on the floor by April 1, allowing him two weeks before the end of the regular season to shake off rust and get acclimated with his teammates again.

The report goes on to suggest that Rivers might have more information tomorrow. This is a major blow for the Celtics as Danny's deadline big men pickups continue to struggle. The Cavs were actually better last season in the playoffs when Shaq was on the bench than when he was in the game. Now Shaq is a year older and it looks like he won't be healthy the rest of the way. I understand why they still are saying their aiming for his return this week. A) The Celtics always act like guys are about to return and B) They're running out of time to get Shaq back into game shape. We've entered now or never time.

If the other O'Neal, possibly the oldest 32 year old that ever lived, can return and gives us 25 minutes a night, Shaq's nagging foot issue won't be the be all end all to the Celtics title hopes. And reports are actually out that Jermaine has lost some weight and has been working out pain free. My guess is right now that it's more likely Jermaine will last the playoffs than Shaq.

I'm sorry Curly fans, but while Kristic has a lot of heart and it's easy to root for him (sort of like Scal), he just doesn't have the strength or athleticism to stop other centers or control the defensive boards. What did he have 1 yesterday? In the playoffs as the game becomes less finesse and more power his weaknesses will only become magnified. Sadly I should add Jeff Green has also struggled significantly in playoffs past. But he's fine as Pierce's backup, and I like Delonte as the 3rd guard. It's the center position which right now is the problem. Let's hope Jermaine can step up (Or Kazaam Shaq gets a new foot to hold up his 390 pound frame).