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While his decision to try and rehab the knee failed and kept him off the floor for the bulk of this season, O'Neal understands his contributions to this team, even if he were healthy all year, wouldn't mean a lot if he didn't step his game up in the playoffs.

But first things first.

O'Neal has to get some practice time in - that will come on Wednesday - and from there, he'll return to the floor.

He's targeting Thursday night's game at San Antonio for his return, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't nearly as optimistic.

"I doubt it," Rivers said when asked about O'Neal coming back that quickly. "There's a chance. That's just so quick. Honestly, the only way is if we had some type of other injury or something. Even then, I doubt I'd do it."

Regardless of when he returns, O'Neal has prepared himself as best he could.

Working out in Chicago with famed trainer Tim Grover, O'Neal said he has spent weeks working out six days a week.

The result is he's in better shape now than he was when he reported to the Celtics this summer, adding that he has also dropped 12 pounds to take even more pressure off his surgically repaired left knee.
So first Shaq and now JO has shed the weight. Might have been a smarter idea to come in to camp with your new team in shape, so as to avoid injuries, but what's done is done. At this point we desperately need someone with the last name O'Neal to be able to give us 24 quality minutes a game in the playoffs, and I don't care which one it is. Right now with Shaq having nagging foot problems (never a good sign with old 7 footers) JO is the more likely candidate to provide those minutes. Jermaine very well could re-injure himself, but there's also a chance he becomes the defensive presence the Celtics signed him to be. We've waited this long, so I don't blame Doc for being willing to wait just a bit longer.

JR 3/29/2011 12:17:00 AM Edit
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10 Responses so far.

  1. If Jermaine can fully recover by the postseason, hopefully he'll fill that role of the defensive presence in the paint that the C's are so obviously lacking.

    Getting Shaq back soon would be nice too... once the O'Neals are playing, mediocre opposing big men will not continue to dominate the Celtics night in and night out.

  2. nails488 says:

    If this celts can get healthy when the playoff arrives, all that is happening right now will be a nightmare past and hopefully all this uncertainty will turn in a real....real satisfaction.

  3. Nicholas says:

    yet, we treaded semih away who was a great back up.....smh

  4. Jenda says:

    Doc may be implying he doesn't have much belief for JO's return alltogether rather than he'll wait before he lets him play

  5. Bohemian says:

    If JO can stay healthy, his presence will be huge for this team.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Less Nenad is better. Does "Nenad" in Serbian me "get my shot blocked?"

  7. Three Toe says:

    As much as I hate having to look forward to JO returning, I am excited to see a shot-blocker and occasional rebounder on the floor for us. nenad can grab some rebounds, but his defense hasnt been very good.

  8. DH says:

    I agree with you, Three Toe. I hate to be excited that JO is finally back since he has not done much this year for us, but at the same time, we really need more big men, especially one that can contribute defensively, and JO did show us his ability to block shots earlier this season.

    And Nicholas, I am still sad we lost Semih, I really liked him. But Semih had been playing through shoulder and groin injuries so you have to keep that in mind. That being said, I like Semih a lot more than Troy Murphy.

  9. Sidney Green says:

    Informative

  10. Bohemian says:

    Ok let's get serious here. A healthy JO was projected to be the starting center in November (and he started). If he is 80% healthy then that means we are back on track. The guy is well worth the MLE when healthy, it's not about quality or skills for this guy. It's about health. If he can play he and Shaq will make us strong again in the middle

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