This is not a late April Fool’s Joke, Shaquille O’Neal will return to the Celtics lineup tonight against the Detroit Pistons after missing more than two months with foot an Achilles tendon injuries. O’Neal worked out before the game and was cleared to play by trainer Ed Lacerte, giving the Celtics more good news after Nenad Krstic’s right knee MRI revealed just a bone bruise.
Krstic could return Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Not much, you’re not going to see a whole bunch of him,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said about O’Neal. “I am going to put him in at some point in the game, 5, 6, 7 minutes and then take him out and play him one more time in the second half. Not the best way to do this but we don’t have a choice.”
O’Neal last played Feb. 1 and the injury was originally supposed to cost him just a week or two and then it turned into several weeks and actual speculation that he would not return. Rivers said he won’t play O’Neal in all remaining seven regular-season games, perhaps three or four.
Krstic worked out Sunday and said he felt some discomfort in the knee but should be back for the Philadelphia game.