WALTHAM — Shaquille O’Neal is unlikely to play during the Celtics’ four-game road trip to Minnesota, Indiana, San Antonio and Atlanta, but his return is growing closer and coach Doc Rivers speculated either April 3 against the Detroit Pistons or April 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I’ve actually heard there was a chance (he could play on this trip) but I don’t expect it,” Rivers said. “I can tell you I’ve heard different. I just think that’s too optimistic in my opinion. Just being around the game long enough to know when you take a boot off you usually don’t play a day later. I just don’t see him flying on a plane after you get your boot off. I just think thats unrealistic.
“There’s a better chance (April 3), I still don’t think that’s realistic. I think more the game the day after that would be our target date for Shaq. I would say they’re thinking maybe Atlanta or the first game back, but I think there’s no chance of that.”
*Delonte West tweaked his sprained right ankle but he is expected to play Sunday against Minnesota. He did not present at practice Saturday, excused to travel to Maryland to be officially released from his probation stemming from a Sept. 2009 gun charge.
*Troy Murphy is out of his walking boot but won’t make the four-game road trip. He sprained his right ankle in Thursday’s practice.