Post-game Reactions

It was a bit of a particular situation last night at the TD Garden. We were informed before the contest that Jermaine O’Neal and C’s management and trainers would be discussing J.O.’s situation during the game, and making a decision on whether to undergo surgery or not on his ailing left knee. I was a little skeptical to say the least. A decision being made, while the game was going on? Sounded bizarre to me.

Sure enough though, on the heels of the C’s come from behind win over the Pistons, the first visit to the podium was made by not Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett, but none other than Danny Ainge himself to take questions on O’Neal’s planned recovery. Absent from the press conference was none other than the man of the hour himself, as Ainge did it alone. Whether not having Jermaine speak to the press was a calculated move or not is anyone’s guess, I’ll let you guys decide, but Danny did go pretty in-depth on the rationale behind the decision, along with what he expects out of J.O. the rest of the way. A few of the key anecdotes:

On The Decision Making Process. “ We had a discussion at halftime, Jermaine, and myself, and our medical staff, and have decided that we are not doing surgery.  The surgery that we were considering by the way, was just a cleaning out.  There’s not ligament or cartilage damage that was going to be prepared, it was a cleaning out process.  We decided against that, we’ll take the next four weeks to do nothing, but work to build up his glutes and quads, with the sole purpose of that.  So he’ll be rehabbing to build strength in his leg to get ready for the end of the season.”

Any Minute Restriction For When He Comes Back?: “No, I would say the purpose is to get him ready to play in late-season and postseason play, with no restrictions.  I mean his first night there might be, but the purpose is to get him back 100 %.”

If he had had the surgery how long would he had been out? “That’s always a guess, but probably closer to eight weeks.  And you know again, Jermaine had a lot to do with the decision.  And Dr. McKeon was fine with it, and it’s not an easy decision, and I think that Jermaine feels like he overdid it a little bit.  He’s got some bruising from the bone on bone that he has in his knee.  He just needs to let that calm down, and build up the strength in it.”

On if his bad knee played a role in his conditioning entering training camp: “Yeah, I think when you’re out with a bad knee, its tough to condition basketball wise.  I mean he was on the treadmill, the non-weight baring treadmill, the swimming pool, a lot of things like that.  But it’s not the same, but I think that Jermaine has a plan to get himself in great shape, and build the strength up so he’ll be able to withstand the rigors of playing the last couple months of basketball.”

Was this the best case scenario? “Yeah, no this is a good option.  I mean, we felt – either way we thought he might be back for the playoffs.  If he had it cleaned out or if he didn’t.  You know, again, it’s just he’s got a lot of wear-and-tear on the knee. But this is a good option.  I think he feels like if he gets himself in better shape and the strength then he’ll be ready to give us an effort that we haven’t seen this year out of him.”

What can we expect out of him when he’s back?: “Not sure.  We’ve had depth there but we’ve had, you know Shaq’s had some injuries, Perk is – we’re not certain; he looks good.  Semih has some injuries.  So we’re going to need all of these guys to get through the year and the playoffs.”

Will there be surgery after the season? “That’s a good question.  I would say that that’s probable.  But not certain.”

Did he return too soon earlier in the year? “Yeah, that’s always a possibility.  I think that the – I mean there’s no guarantee – but I think the wear-and-tear on the knee, he might’ve overdone it.  Wasn’t in as good a shape as he could’ve been.  Maybe came back a little too soon.  I mean, all those things are possibilities. But you know he got a second opinion from a doctor in New York and our medical staff think that he should be back without restriction.”

How much of the four weeks of rest is for O’Neal’s own piece of mind: “He wants to play.  I mean, I don’t know if it’s for his piece of mind.  He’s been through rehab before. And I mean, he wants to play but he doesn’t want to keep disrupting the team, coming in, coming out, coming in, coming out.  He wants to be ready once and for all so that’s why we’re saying four weeks.”

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • What More Can I Say?

    Don't come back fat JO. I'll take the other former Jailblazer (Sheed) fat b4 you. At least he can shoot and stretch the floor.

  • koolaid

    JO was definitely the worst conditioned guy coming out of camp. if he had a bad knee then its kinda understandable… but how does he score a contract like that if its a known issue already then? just seems weird that danny basically admits/confirms that JO had a bad knee before training camp cause that surely means he had a bad knee when he signed him.

  • Jim

    Really, Celtics Hub? Auto-play ads with sound? For shame.

  • Danno

    Not to nag, but isn't the expression "peace of mind", not "piece of mind"? Come on guys, spell checker doesn't catch everything…

    • eeenok

      and while we're at it, weight bearing, not weight baring … can't anyone write anymore?

  • JCP

    Is this the same crowd who gets upset when the Celtics Hub writers get "nit-picky" about certain players on the roster?

    You're doing the same thing, commentors. Cut them a little slack… let's talk about basketball.

    P.S. Danno if you're talking to "guys" in your last sentence there should be a comma before the word "guys". Not to nag…

    • Eric

      It sounds pornographic without the comma before "guys."

    • eeenok

      the comma before guys is optional, which makes you more nit-picky than danno

  • Rob

    Imagine if we wouldn’t of signed shaq and went into the year with JO starting and semih as the backup center…thank god for the big shamrock