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Shaq could return Friday vs. Wizards

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  April 4, 2011 03:54 PM

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WALTHAM -- Shaquille O'Neal did not practice Monday at the team's practice facility but the Celtics were encouraged that his right calf strain will not cost him the rest of the regular season.

What's more, O'Neal could return to action by Friday's home game with the Washington Wizards. Coach Doc Rivers stressed that the calf strain is not related to the foot and Achilles' tendon injury that cost O'Neal 27 games and the Celtics their most imposing center.

"What I know is that it's a calf strain, and it's not that bad, not that severe," Rivers said. "He may play at the end of the week but we're not sure yet. We're going to do whatever is required."

Meanwhile, Nenad Krstic returned to practice after missing the past two games with a bone bruise in his right knee and said there is no reason he could not play tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers. Krstic said he felt some knee soreness but not enough to cause him to miss another game.

Also, Troy Murphy practiced after missing the past road trip with a sprained right ankle and he could return this week while Jermaine O'Neal made it through the weekend's game OK and he could start against the 76ers.

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