On the heels of the Celtics 101-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons, somewhat positive news continues to filter in from the Celtics on the status of injured center Shaquille O’Neal. Let’s give you a quick rundown now of what we know, while also giving you plenty of reaction from Shaq’s teammates.
* Shaq did not use a wheelchair to get to the locker room, contrary to other reports. CSN cameras caught him leaving the arena before the conclusion of the contest, where he was walking gingerly on his right calf strain but was not sporting a walking boot.
* O’Neal did sit out three games in December of this season due a sore right calf.
* The news after the game was positive form Doc Rivers regarding the severity of the injury and the appearance that this was not a re-aggravation of the Achilles’ injury that kept O’Neal sidelined for the past 27 games.
Rivers on the injury: “The update is that it’s not the same injury. Had nothing to do with the Achilles; it’s a calf strain. It’s not a bad strain, but it’s a strain. So similar to the one Von (Wafer) had but not even close to the severity.”
Timetable on the injury: “‘I don’t know’ is the answer. I don’t think very long, honestly. That’s what (Dr.) McKeon and them thought, that it’s very minor. Scary, more than anything. And you know I’m sure with the calf that he probably thought Achilles right away. But we’ll see.”
Will This Cause Doc To Consider Shutting Shaq Down Longer? “I don’t know what to do, honestly. My inclination is not, because we need – he needs to play. We have to play at full-tilt in six or seven – you know what I’m saying? But I don’t know the answer to that.”
Reaction from the rest of the Boston locker room after the jump
Do You Feel for Shaq? “It’s tough he’s been out so long, he tried to do it today, without any chance to have any practices. I just hope he’s alright, I don’t really the know the extent of what’s going on, but you know he’s been out so long, resting, trying to get his injuries together and it’s very disappointing. He comes out, especially after being out so long, to come down with another injury.”
Did the wind go out of the team’s sails when Shaq went down? “It felt like pausing time you know, it felt like just having his presence out there was big tonight. Even just having him for a few minutes, definitely you know, definitely a plus other there. It’s tough.”
Are you encouraged it’s only a calf strain? “I don’t know, when you get to that age, those ones tend to hurt a little bit longer. Shaq’s missed games before, he’s been injured before, he knows how to get through it mentally.”
“Man he seemed to be in good spirits when he left, and I think he may be out there on Tuesday, but we’ll see. He was laughing and joking, I think it was more of a scare for the guys on the team and the fans of the Celtics. But, I think getting some practice time, cause he hasn’t had the ability to practice, it was kind of on the fly, he hasn’t been able to test it. And today he kind of tweaked it, hopefully for us we can get him back sooner because he got out to a great start today.”
On Seeing Him Go Down “That wasn’t good, to see him. He’s been working his behind to get back to this point. He had some momentum going, he definitely gave us a spark. It was good to see him out there. If you know Shaq, you know he is always in spirits and to see him go like that was tough.
On The Severity: It’s minor. He’s a huge dude. Hopefully he can bounce back from this. Leg injuries are not easy. We are just hoping for the best at this point. It is what it is man. We’ve all dealt with injuries. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve had to step up and hold each other down so to speak. This is no different from that.”
GLEN DAVIS (The Optimistic One)
“Shaq don’t get hurt. Shaq is invincible man. That’s what I believe in. He’ll be back. He’s all steel. Man of steel. That’s what I’ve been believing since I was a little kid. Shaq’s ok.”
Put it all together and this appears to be similar to the Garnett injury situation, which ironically was also against the Pistons this year. An injury that appears to be worse than it actually is.
I doubt we will see Shaq in the next game or two, unless it’s a miraculous recovery, but a return to the floor this week no longer appears to be out of the question. Now it just becomes a matter of seeing if Shaq can hold up for an actual playoff series or two, or hopefully four.