WASHINGTON -- Celtics president Danny Ainge told the Globe this afternoon that Shaquille O'Neal is unlikely to play in Wednesday's season finale against the New York Knicks but is expected to practice Thursday and be ready for Game 1 of the Celtics' first-round series Saturday or Sunday.
O'Neal, who missed 27 games with an Achilles tendon and foot injuries and then played 5 minutes, 36 seconds in his return before straining a right calf muscle, has missed the past games, including Monday's road finale against the Washington Wizards.
O'Neal has been limited to just 37 games this season with various injuries and it's been apparent in recent weeks that the Celtics could use his presence in the middle.
"We're planning as of right now of him practicing Thursday or Friday and being ready to play for Game 1 of the playoffs," Ainge said. "I have every confidence that he will be ready and play in the playoffs."
When asked if O'Neal could get some court time against the Knicks Wednesday, he said: "Probably not."