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Jermaine O’Neal Speaks On Surgery, Denies Buyout Rumors

 

Jermaine O’Neal has likely played his last game as a Celtic and potentially the last one of his NBA career, announcing late last week he had elected to undergo season ending surgery. Last night, he tried to do some damage control on his image amongst Celtics fans, talking to multiple beat reporters about his decision to undergo surgery, and perhaps most importantly deny rumors that he had asked or planned to ask for a buyout to potentially join the Heat.

As expected, there are a number of good tidbits from each of these pieces, so here’s a collection of highlights from them, while recommending you check all three of them individually as well for better perspective. My question for you guys is simply….do you buy it?

From the Boston Herald on the timetable of the surgery:

“And just to be clear on this, the day after I did it, all the doctors told me I needed surgery right away,” he said. “I was sent home to a hand specialist and a couple of other doctors, and they all agreed together that surgery was what I needed, but I didn’t want to make that decision, because I felt like I still had a job to do. I came to the Celtics to win and compete for a championship. I didn’t want to make an emotional decision. I knew that the ligament in my wrist was completely torn, which is what happened last year taking the charge. I didn’t know how much worse it had gotten until we took pictures of it again and it was significantly worse. I started growing spurs, which made it really painful. Almost everything I did caused swelling. It also began to cause severe arthritis in my left hand. That’s where the conversation became more about the quality of life.”

From The Boston Globe on the decision and buyout rumors:“It was just a tough decision because I don’t think you guys understand how hard I worked from the knee surgery (last season) to get back,” he said. “I wanted to come back there and really play at a high level. It was quite emotional for me, I am not going to lie to you. I told the team when I got back from Dallas (where he sustained the injury) that I needed some time. I tried to do everything I could do to come back and the wrist didn’t respond. That’s what really bothered me about (rumors of me) going to Miami. (Team president) Danny (Ainge) never talked about that. It’s crazy that even came up any way. If I am not physically able to play for the Celtics, then why would Miami want me? Why would they want to sign me? That’s what bothered me the most because this is real to me.”

From CSNNE.com talking in-depthly about the rumors:

“That’s something that needs to be cleared up,” [O'Neal] said. “I never asked Danny. I never spoke to Danny – quote me on this – about a buyout. Danny has never spoken to me about a buyout. Our conversation has always been strictly with [team trainer] Ed Lacerte and our doctors about my health and my ability to come back. “

O’Neal added, “He said to the media that we were going to have a conversation, and we both had the same question for each other, ‘Where does this stuff come from?’ My concern and his concern was my ability to get back on the court. And if I couldn’t, then I couldn’t. He has supported me in such a way that . . . me and my family appreciate that.”

Strong words from the big man that will likely put to bed any further bad blood from most fans. Now the C’s turn to filling the void at two big man spots off the bench now, something we will have more on here at CelticsHub later this afternoon.

  • http://twitter.com/KIDPRINCE22 @KIDPRINCE22

    Ainge buyout O`Neal,Wilcox, & Dooling contract then waived Daniels and Pavlovic by today. Ainge should sign 4 players for 1 year. C`s should sign B.Diaw,JJ Hickson, and R.Hollins for 1 year in a hour.

    • The Cardinal

      If you're JO or Wilcox, why would you accept a buyout when you can continue to collect your full pay check? Unless a player has a great chance of being picked up by a better-positioned playoff contender, why would anyone accept a buy out? If the C''s are to add anyone, most likely have to waive a player (or two) and eat the remainder of the contract(s).

      Financially, it ain't as easy as you think.

      • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

        don't waste your words on this guy

    • CelticsBIG3

      Please shut up kidprince

  • Handsome

    Just get better, JO. There are bigger things than basketball and if the choice comes down to playing or causing permanent damage to yourself it's a no brainer.

    People will get snarky about the games missed but Jermaine played hard every minute he was on the court. I don't think anyone has a right to ask him for more than that.

  • Montrosssdad

    Lol who cares…we got more out of raef.

  • CG12

    Turiaf going to the Heat.

  • The Cardinal

    Praise the Lord! His presence would not have helped the C's one iota. They need a 4/5 type who lives for rebounding and getting up and down the floor. Besides, the idea of signing another player who has a known heart condition would be scary.

  • NHBluesMan

    My biggest question is: why didn’t he have surgery this summer during the lockout instead of going into the season without fixing it and allowing for the potential to make it worse?

    • The Cardinal

      Good question – I wondered about that every since the end of last season. Of course, if I stop thinking like a fan for a minute, I can certainly understand why an individual would be reluctant to undergo the knife cuz there is always the possibility of the unexpected happening with surgery and in the end, it really is an individual choice that should be respected.

      As for the waiver deadline, I think the C's are hoping that Reggie Evans will be waived and will sign with them. Regardless, I'm betting they'll go with Chris Johnson, and try to sign a vet. I believe they will probably waive Moore and Marquis.

      Honestly, I'm hoping they would waive Dooling before Moore since Moore is the best ball handler they have other than Rondo. If you've watched lately, the C's do not handle backcourt pressure well when Rondo is out, and when E'twann was playing, what stood out to me even more than his 3-point shooting was he rarely made turnovers. His poise actually reminds me of Joe Johnson during his rookie year with the C's (and of course we know how that turned out with the "let's get veterans to win now" philosophy).

      • CelticsBIG3

        Chris Johnson is already signed by New Orleans.

        • The Cardinal

          Ouch….that's too bad. Maybe we'll get lucky with the Reggie Evan's situation, and also add a veteran point guard who can actually run an offense.

          • CelticsBIG3

            I hadn't heard anything about Reggie Evans getting bought out. That would be nice, we were trying to get him before the season started. JJ Hickson off the market now too. Not that he was that great of a pickup anyway.

  • tbunny

    I believe Jermaine really wanted to compete but his body hasn't been there for at least a couple years. Danny, please don't gamble on an aging superstar center anytime soon.

  • red

    random thought, Pierce is no longer elite at SF and is a second tier player much like Luol deng. I am a huge celtic fan but our problem is we no longer have a clear number one who can command double teams on the offensive end. We need a star, someone like Rose,Kobe or Wade who can dictate how the game is played. Pierce is not that any longer the rest of the pieces are good enough to win a championship and that`s the truth sorry captain, but the truth is we need you to be elite and you are just a complimentary piece now.My guess is the C`s will battle but lose in the second round ,during the off season KG will resign 2 years 18 milllion Allen will walk and we will still need a impact elite 2 or 3 who can score 25 to 30 a night.

  • Scrilla

    He didn't speak to Danny about a buyout but I bet his agent did.

  • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

    Good piece Brian. JO is so forgettable to many of us fans, but I respect his words if he's going to come out and directly address the rumors. I would prefer to think positively about his struggle with health at the end of his career, instead of seeing him as a disappointment who is more concerned with jumping ship than fighting with his boys.

    • CelticsBIG3

      He's already been a disappointment for two seasons.

      • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

        Dude's on the way out. I was trying to say something nice.

        • CelticsBIG3

          For what? He happily gobbled up a bunch of cash we could have paid someone else when he knew he's been shot as a player since his season with Toronto.

          • Handsome

            Sounds like you're angry at Ainge for offering the contract and not at JO.

  • felix

    Nobody took more charges than he did. Him in the post allowed KG to go out and break up pick&rolls at the three point line, which is no longer possible now. Really liked his approach on D. He should retire, his body's done.

  • Ombudsman

    Hey CH writers. Someone needs to call out Woj from Yahoo on this. He dropped that rumor twice, so either he is lying, Jermaine is lying, or Woj''s standards for reporting need to be be seriously raised. That guy gets way too much press out of reporting unsubstantiated rumors and gossip and if he's misreporting information (and basically slandering O' Neal, in the eyes of his fanbase,) that should get press too.

    • CelticsBIG3

      They all lie, ESPECIALLY Chris Broussard

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