WALTHAM — Jermaine O’Neal was taking jumpers at the team’s practice facility today, wearing a protective splint on his left wrist. He visited a hand specialist Wednesday and described the session like visiting a fast food restaurant, where the doctor laid out options as if they were various value meals.
O’Neal said that he’s three options for treatment of his wrist: 1) a cortisone shot 2). minor surgery that may cost him a month or so or 2) more extensive surgery that would mean missing the rest of the season and perhaps end his career.
O’Neal was injured taking a charge from Dallas’ Dominique Jones on Feb. 20 and hasn’t played since. He said the damage was more extensive than expected.
“People talk about the term ‘sacrificing your body’ and I’ve done that,” he said. “With those charges, almost every time I’ve been out this year it’s been because me taking those charges. It’s a situation where you gather all your options. I know what my options are as far as surgeries and injections. It’s something I gotta have surgery on. You’re just trying to figure out when to do it.”
The issue that concerns O’Neal is post career. He said he was unable to pick up his young son in the past few days, and playing further without surgery could damage the wrist permanently.
“We saw some changes in the MRI that long term you have to be worried about,” he said. “I didn’t come to Boston for any money. I made a ton of money in my career. I came here to win a championship. Obviously we’ve been up and down but at some point in life you have to figure out just how much your body can take. I want to be able to function and that’s the conversation that I’m having now more than ever. Playing vs. functioning while I’m finished playing. That’s probably the biggest concern right now.”