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Shaquille O’Neal turned 39 Sunday. But, the oldest player in the NBA did not have such a happy birthday.
Part of the reason the Celtics were willing to part with Kendrick Perkins at the trade deadline was that they would be able to rely on a healthy Shaq for the stretch run, and maybe a return to the lineup as early is this week. But, it appears Shaq may be out for a little longer than that. While his right Achilles tendon is healing as normal, his right foot injury is still bothering him and he is out indefinitely, according to CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely.
“(Shaq) worked out with us the other day…some of the pain returned,” said Doc Rivers. “(Team trainer Ed Lecerte) just said don’t expect him anytime soon.”
With 21 games to go, the Celtics are three games ahead of the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings, and even though Shaq has missed 13 straight games, the team is 9-4 during that time. While the Celtics wait to get healthy, the relatively healthy Heat (except for Udonis Haslem) are struggling and now four games behind Boston. So, the C’s don’t have to rush Shaq or Jermaine O’Neal back as long as Kevin Garnett, Nenad Krstic, and Troy Murphy remain healthy and productive.