Rivers does not expect O’Neal back

SAN FRANCISCO — Whether it’s because of Jermaine O’Neal’s sprained left wrist or his desire to play with another team, Celtics coach Doc Rivers does not expect the center to return to the club, opening up another void for a big man.

A day after learning that Chris Wilcox will miss the rest of the season to undergo surgery to repair an enlarged aorta, Rivers said while he hasn’t spoken with O’Neal, he doesn’t expect him back.

“I don’t (see it happening), no I don’t, we’ll see but I don’t,” Rivers said of O’Neal’s possible return. “I haven’t talked to him at all to be honest.”

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Rivers said the Celtics will see a big man through the buyout route or NBADL, a former Celtic just became available when the Portland Trail Blazers waived Chris Johnson to make room for their several new acquisitions. The team is also interested in Chris Kaman, who remains with the New Orleans Hornets but who could also negotiate a buyout.