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
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Shaquille O’Neal will not be playing in Game 2 against the Heat Tuesday Night.
I know. Stunning. The big man himself limped into shootaround Tuesday and ruled himself out, according to A. Sherrod Blakely at CSN New England.
But he almost certainly will play in Game 3, Doc Rivers said Tuesday, according to a tweet from Howard Beck of the New York Times.
Rivers said Shaq had a “phenomenal” practice Monday. But not phenomenal enough to actually play.
The Heat are close to getting their own injured big man back — Udonis Haslem has been practicing with the Heat and is eager to go, but he will not play in Game 2, coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The man wants to ball though and he may suit up against the Celtics at some point, as he told the Miami Herald.
“Definitely I could be part of this series, and without being as athletic and not even having my timing, just the physical aspect that I could bring to the game would probably help us a little bit,” Haslem said Monday.
He would be a boost as the Heat could use the depth up front, but right now they need to focus on making sure Joel Anthony gets enough minutes.
Shaquille O’Neal practiced with the Boston Celtics Thursday and Friday.
He’ll play against the Miami Heat. At some point in the series. Probably.
Yes, I know, pretty vague. But that’s what the Celtics have left us with. CSN New England gives us the quotes from Doc Rivers himself.
“He just did a little bit yesterday,” Rivers said of O’Neal’s involvement in Thursday’s session. “Maybe (he’ll do) some more today, and really, that’s the only update that I have. There’s no decision made or anything….
“I’m more confident now that he will play in the series,” Rivers said. “Maybe (game) one, maybe two but I do think he’ll play. I guess he’s done some stuff with (trainer) Eddie (Lacerte). Eddie’s more confident that he’ll play so that makes me more confident.”
Well, that clears everything up.
Shaq may not decide this series, but he does change things. His presence and scoring ability in the post makes it hard for Miami to play Joel Anthony, the undersized center who is the Heat’s best help defender and shot blocker in the middle. It’s just one of the little matchups that will all add up to some big differences in this series.