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.