Report: Shaq to return to Celtics by April 1. No fooling.


Boston just needs to get everyone back and healthy for the playoffs, then everything will be just fine. That’s the mantra, so say it with me. Everyone back and healthy for the playoffs.

But they could use to get their big men back a little before that. Just to remember what everybody looks like, work on the chemistry and defensive rotations a little. That kind of fun.

Looks like they are in luck — Shaquille O’Neal plans to be back by April 1, according to Peter May at Shaq has been out since Feb. 1 with an Achilles injury as well as assortment of other bumps and bruises.

A team source on Wednesday said that O’Neal is mending and on schedule for a return by April 1. That would give him two weeks to get reacquainted with the teammates he left — and acquainted with the five new teammates with whom he has yet to play.

Shaq would be the starter, his backup would be Jermaine O’Neal, who also is expecting to be back with the team just before April 1, GM Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald.

Jermaine has been able to run for three weeks now without swelling in the knee, which is a good sign.

If Boston gets their big men back, they should have the last couple weeks of the season — plus a likely very winnable first round matchup — to get all the issues worked out for when the games get very difficult I the second round.

Doc Rivers might consider sitting Rajon Rondo for a stretch

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We saw this attitude last season — Boston’s Doc Rivers was willing to sacrifice regular season games to keep his guys healthy and rested come the playoffs. It worked.

Sunday, Rajon Rondo sat out for the Celtics, a last-minute scratch due to a sore hamstring. But hamstrings can be slow to heal and Rondo has a number of other nagging injuries, so Rivers told the Boston Globe he may sit him for a bit.

“We get a two-day break after this, and that’s one of the things that went into this [thinking]. We’re just going to try to get through it.’’

The Celtics have gotten good scoring out of Nate Robinson when he starts for Rondo — he averaged 17.8 points per game as a starter — but the team assists and offensive flow are not quite the same. Plus, they miss Rondo’s perimeter defense.

The “chill out and get healthy” mantra also applies to Jermaine O’Neal as well. He’ll be working out this week and may return to the court next week, the Globe reports.