You didn’t expect Shaquille O’Neal to totally shut the door, did you?
He left it open a crack when talking with our man A. Sherrod Blakely with CSN New England in a one-on-one after his farewell press conference Friday.
So Shaq, could you make a comeback?
“Probably not,” O’Neal told Comcast SportsNet moments after announcing his retirement at his home in Orlando, Fla.
When reminded that such an answer leaves the door for speculation open wide open, O’Neal responded, “I say probably not; you finish the sentence how you want to finish it.”
The path to Shaq getting his body back all the way to take the beating the NBA (and running up and down it’s hardwood floors) dishes out. It’s surgery and a lot of hard rehab work. At 39 it’s a slow process. Still… you can’t totally rule it out. The feeling around the league is pretty much the same.
“I don’t think he’ll be like Brett Favre and go back and forth, over and over again,” said one Eastern Conference executive on Friday. “But if he does have some kind of surgery and he’s feeling pretty good and maybe most important, the Celtics need another big man, I think the expectation becomes that at the very least, both him and the Celtics would think about trying to make it work.”
Shaq wants one more ring. Enough that you shouldn’t rule anything out.
Shaquille O’Neal is back in the playoffs — wasn’t that worth all the wait?
He lumbered up and down the court and had little impact on the game in his 8.5 minutes. Well, he was a +2. So there’s that.
On CSN New England, former Celtic Cedric Maxwell was not exactly waiving the towel of support for Shaq. But Shaq is still expected to go in Game 4.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
And right now there is no desperate measure quite like Shaquille O’Neal.
Boston coach Doc Rivers told the media today that Shaq would be a go in Game 3 Saturday at the Boston Garden, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely at CSN New England. Rivers also said that the rest of the banged up Celtics — Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, really pretty much all of them — will play in Game 3, too.
I get your skepticism on Shaq. I do. (We remember how many times we heard KG was coming back from the Celtics in 2009.) But I tend to believe this is going to happen. The Celtics are desperate for a change and they have had three days off between games to rest him. Shaq will not start but will play.
This could be good news, but how good is in question.
The Heat have had their best success this season when they have gone small, with Chris Bosh at the four and Joel Anthony at the five. Shaq changes that — even at this age and as hobbled as he is, Shaq can post up and back down Anthony, scoring quite easily over the undersized center. He will force the Heat to adjust to Boston for the first time this series.
Problem is, how much can Shaq really play. He has played 5 minutes of game time since February, and this is a player not exactly known for his conditioning in the first place. Can he go 10 minutes?
From how the first two games of this series looked, 10 minutes of Shaq is not going to be enough without some other dynamic changes for Boston