You can file this one away in the “no kidding” department, but Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston has confirmed that Shaquille O’Neal will not be making his postseason debut for tomorrow afternoon’s Game 4 against the New York Knicks. The reasons for this are likely two-fold.
1) Shaq’s still not ready to go.
2) Even if he were ready, risking Shaq’s return while up 3-0 against an undermanned Knicks squad would be foolish to say the least.
For now, the Celtics look to head into the Garden on Easter Sunday to wrap things up, and give O’Neal and company some added time to rest up before next round’s inevitable showdown with the Miami Heat.
At this point, I’ve also had a lot of people ask about a realistic timetable for Shaq’s return at this point. If you do some quick math on this, let’s take into account:
-Shaq suffered the calf injury April 10th vs Detroit.
-The younger and more nimble Von Wafer and Kevin Garnett both suffered calf injuries and missed upwards of three weeks of playing time.
-Shaq’s sprain was reportedly less severe than both of those players according to Doc, but he also has the Achilles’ issue which undoubtedly is related and has an effect on the current injury.
Given all of those realities, expecting an O’Neal return any sooner than three weeks after that April 10th date seems like wishful thinking for the 39-year-old center. Even that timetable may be optimistic.
The good news is the Celtics could be opening up their second round matchup around that time next weekend where the Shaq returning to the floor speculation may get a bit more realistic for a change. For now, let’s wait to hear about a practice where he passes Dr. McKeon’s conditioning test, then we’ll talk.
More from Doc after the jump
Some video via Chris Forsberg at today’s shootaround: