I’ve had three family members go through cancer in the last few years. So the fear of an athlete when he goes to a doctor to find out if his season is over or not doesn’t exactly pull as much on my heartstrings as it used to. But just because it pales in comparison to the ailments that people go through every day doesn’t mean it’s not scary to find out if your career is teetering on the brink of conclusion due to your body gives out.
Like what Jermaine O’Neal goes through next week.
The Telegram and Gazzette out of Worcester, Massachusetts reports that O’Neal will seek a second opinion in New York on his knee, then decide whether to undergo what could be season-ending surgery. The big question is whether surgery will help him to get clear of the injury, or whether it is simply something to alleviate pain. If he won’t regain more use of his knee, he plans to play through the pain this season. O’Neal knows this may be his last shot at an NBA ring and doesn’t want to earn it from the bench.
Playing through pain is going to be difficult, obviously, but not just from the pain perspective. With Kendrick Perkins getting back and Shaquille O’Neal playing well, he may have a hard time getting minutes anyway. In the meantime, JO has also stated he wants to return to Indiana to finish his career.
So much of the Celtics’ future rests on health. So much potential, and so much fear.