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Bill Burt wrote earlier today for the local Massachusetts newspaper that we may have seen “The Big Shamrock,” for the last time. A source told the paper:
“If he were to come back, it would have to be a miraculous recovery.”
CSNNE.com’s Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely wrote that Doc Rivers refuted the report. Doc Said:
“I know that’s not true,” Rivers told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to play. I just don’t know when.”
Who knows the truth. This could all be just smoke and mirrors. Don’t forget in 2009, when the Celtics kept assuring us Kevin Garnett would return. KG never played in the playoffs that year for the Celtics.
If the report is true, the Celtics now will be left with a big hole in the frontcourt (about a 7-foot-1, 300-pound hole). As I wrote in an earlier article, this would put all the more pressure on the other O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal. His presence would now be vital to the Celtics and their hopes for a deep playoff run.
Shaq played only 37 games for the Celtics this season. He danced on and off the injury list with a number of different injuries, but it was the one to his Achilles that has kept him out the most. The injury kept the future Hall-of-Famer off the floor since a game on Feburary 1. He came back and played just 5 minutes in a game against the Pistons. Early in the second quarter he limped off the court and into the locker room for what will be likely the last time.
The Eagle-Tribune’s source also said that retirement is all but a certainty, despite Shaq having another year on his contract with the C’s.
Shaq averaged 20.3 minutes per game for the Celtics in 2010-2011. He also averaged 9.2 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Those numbers aren’t representative of his career 23.7 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game averages.
If he is done, he will unquestionably go down as one of the greatest centers to ever play the game. We should just feel privileged that we got to see 37 of his 1207 games up close and in a Celtics uniform.
We’re just going to have to wait and see.