A week after seeing a very brief return from the team’s prized starting center in Shaquille O’Neal, the team has decided to be very cautious with the 39-year-old and his strained calf. Jeff Twiss, the Celtics’ PR director confirmed this morning that O’Neal did not make the trip with the team to Miami for Sunday’s showdown with the Heat for the number two seed. He will also not play Monday night in Washington against the Wizards.
The decision to hold Shaq out is the move that head coach Doc Rivers was leaning towards last night in his postgame press conference:
“I’m not sure. I’m going to lean towards not [playing]. But I’m not sure yet.” said Rivers. “We’ll talk in the morning. If we don’t think there’s any chance, he won’t go on the trip. If he goes on the trip, then there’s a chance he’ll play.”
And the latest on Jermaine O’Neal who sat out last night for precautionary reasons from Doc last night as well:
“I’m holding him out — he wanted to play, but I didn’t think he should play,” said Rivers. “I just want to keep him healthy. He’s played a bunch of games. We have games (tomorrow), Monday and Wednesday, and he would like to play that entire week, so I thought this would be a good game for him to sit. The only thing I would do different with JO is we’re sitting him too long — only playing him five or six minutes in a row,” he said. “I would sit him five and play him again. I didn’t know what to expect. But defensively he’s been very good for us.”
Both Jermaine and Von Wafer made the trip according to Twiss. Full analysis on the move to hold out Shaq on the way….