Jermaine O’Neal was brought in to help carry the Celtics through the first months of the season, while Kendrick Perkins is still recovering from knee surgery.
Fortunately, the Celtics brought in Shaquille O’Neal to back up the other O’Neal.
Shaq got the start, put up 12 and 9 in 24 minutes, on 4 of 5 shooting. Jermaine watched. Again. There has been the wrist and the back and the hamstring and through it all JO has not gotten a lot of run. Which led Doc Rivers question how much Jermaine can help at the start of the season, as he told the Boston Herald.
“Yeah, there is (concern),” Rivers said before the game. “(O’Neal) hasn’t been able to get on the floor, obviously. It’s not going to happen tonight and maybe not for the first couple of practices, so there is some concern about opening night and what he can do for us.
“JO and I were just talking, and it was, after the first day of training camp, you’re never healthy again. You have to get something. But how much can you function? It’s what you’re going through the rest of the year.”
Danny Ainge knew what he was doing this summer — he has added two more big men to the roster with the theory that he’ll have enough at any one given time to get through a game and with that the season. Jermaine and Shaq both bring more offense to the five spot than Boston had last year. It gives Rivers depth and options.
Then come the playoffs that depth can help wear teams down along the front line (not many teams can bring a Shaq off the bench).
At least that’s the plan. Until the next nagging injury crops up.