Shaquille O’Neal will be back in the Celtics lineup… sometime.
Just as he was about to return from a right Achilles tendon injury, now he is having right foot soreness. Basically, the Celtics have stopped trying to guess when he will be back, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England.
“He (O’Neal) worked out with us the other day,” Rivers said. “Some of the pain returned.”
Rivers spoke with Ed Lacerte, the team’s head trainer.
“Eddie just said don’t expect him anytime soon,” Rivers said.
Boston has a three-game lead over the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, a lead that they likely will be able to hold on to, even if the lack of Shaq makes it more difficult.
The pressure really comes in the second round of the playoffs and beyond. That is when the games get hard and the Celtics will need Shaq to be a presence, particularly on the defensive end. They need him to control the paint and rebound. They need him to score some.
So the Celtics remain conservative and will rest him, because they don’t need him this week. But will they be able to count on him in May? All these setbacks have to create some doubts.
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
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