MIAMI — Reserve center Shaquille O’Neal is doubtful for tonight’s Game 5 vs. the Miami Heat with the same Achilles injury that’s kept him out for most of the latter part of the season.
“I will say I doubt it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said when asked if Shaq would play. “I don’t know yet today. That little stretch of the game it got worse.”
O’Neal has only managed to play in little stretches in two playoff games for the Celtics, so it’s not like much will change. The Celtics have been and will continue to operate largely without Shaq. O’Neal played just four minutes in Game 4 after playing eight minutes in Game 3. Nenad Krstic did not play for the Celtics in Game 4, so it’s possible he’ll get some time tonight unless Rivers decides to stick with Jermaine O’Neal or go small.
On Rajon Rondo, well it’s not as if his left elbow injury has had time to get a heck of a lot better.
“He is what he is,” said Rivers. “I don’t know how much better he’s going to be.”
The Celtics face elimination tonight. O’Neal, who has a player option for next season, might also have played the last game of his 18-year NBA career. He has a player option for next season but played just 37 regular season games and turns 40 next March.