The Celtics are still figuring out which of their battered big men will be able to play tomorrow night against the Miami Heat.
Shaquille O’Neal has missed the last five games with a bone bruise in his right knee, but he practiced today for the first time in nearly two weeks. Jermaine O’Neal sat out after playing just 11 minutes of the Celtics’ loss to the Mavericks Monday, hampered by soreness in the left knee he had surgically repaired in 2007.
Jermaine O’Neal said it was “50/50” whether he’d play tomorrow. Shaq said that O’Neal’s availability could determine his own.
“I feel better,” Jermaine O’Neal said. “I’m going to rest today, get some treatment. I feel better than I felt yesterday. Getting the pain level down is something I look at every day. We’re still figuring out what the issues are, hopefully we can figure that out and get that resolved because sitting out a couple days at a time is not something I’m looking forward to.
“I think it’s a 50/50 chance. I think if I get a great day of treatment in, if I can get the pain level down to maybe 40, 50 percent, then yeah, I’d play. But obviously I know it’s not going to be 100 percent pain-free, but it just can’t feel the way it felt in the first half.”
Jermaine O’Neal is being fitted for a brace today by a Miami-based company.
Shaquille O’Neal was wearing knee pads with extra padding around what he calls his “fibula head,” protecting the side of his knee from kicks like the one he took from Amar’e Stoudemire that put him in this predicament.
Coach Doc Rivers said, “I don’t know how much he’s going to give us. If he can give us a lot, I’m not going to allow him to give us too much. I’d rather have him tomorrow than today.
Watch and learn
Heat-Jazz was the game of the night last night, and the Celtics were tuned in to watch Miami take one on the chin in overtime on its home floor. LeBron James
fished for a triple-double played the role of distributor and rebounder. The Heat had a 19-point lead at halftime, then gave up 84 points in the second half and OT to give the game away. Paul Millsap dropped a career-high 46 points, dealing deathblows with three improbable 3-pointers.
Rivers said it was hard for the Celtics to snicker at the Heat, because of the way his team lost in Dallas on Monday.
“We just had one. It didn’t happen that way, but Dallas, we blew that game. We stopped executing and we kind of assumed the win. You could see it in our body language and you could see it last night. It’s amazing how that happens to veteran teams, and though Miami’s new, they’re still veterans. It happened to us, too. I don’t like those type of lessons, personally. Those are bad lessons. I’d rather win the game and then go off about it. But it was a lesson for all of us.”
West stays behind
There was a chance Delonte West would meet the team in Miami for the last two games of the trip, but he chose to stay in Boston. When the Celtics return, his 10-game suspension will have run its course. Rivers said he encouraged West to stay back, knowing there were three off days and two practice days at the start of the week.
“We were thinking about it, and I left that up to him,” Rivers said. “The good news is that when we get back, we’ve got a couple days of practice. That’s what I told him…I don’t think it’d be smart to come up.”