Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The proverbial question: Will Shaq return or is he done?

It's amazing how these things spread like wild fire. I read on Reds Army and at various other blogs/off tweets that Shaq would not be returning. That story came from a story in the Eagle Tribune, who apparently got the information from an anonymous source: 

BOSTON — Shaquille O'Neal may have worn a Boston Celtics uniform for the last time.
In what would be a crippling blow to their chances of winning a title, the Celtics are going forward as if the affable center won't be returning to team for the playoffs, according to an NBA source.
It means the other O'Neal — Jermaine, who has had knee problems since opening day, will be the go-to big man with Glen Davis and Nenad Krstic as his backups.
The Celtics came to this conclusion after Shaq failed to complete one simple sprint up and down the court during a "conditioning test" on Saturday, before he limped off the court in Waltham.
The Celtics held out a slim hope Shaq would be able to make his return in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Knicks or possibly in the conference semifinals, if they advanced.
"If he were to come back, it would have to be a miraculous recovery," said the source, who requested anonymity. "And at his age (he turned 39 on March 6) and physical condition, the Celtics have planned accordingly."

While it's perfectly realistic that Shaq may not return this postseason, I found this report to be instantly questionable... I mean why would a source with such juicy info choose "The Eagle Tribune" as their outlet? I had to google the paper just to find out where it was. Why not splurge and go with the Globe? Or ESPN? It just seemed weird. If I had that kinda info, I'd be soaking up my 15 minutes of fame. Catch me on PTI, Anonymous Source X, with the blurred out face and deepened voice. I mean no disrespect towards that writer or his paper... But anyway, as soon as that report leaked, everyone predictably started going all crazy. Doc Rivers was asked about it and refuted it:

"While timelines have often been extended with O'Neal, Rivers was asked flat out if he expects the 39-year-old center to play in the postseason and he reaffirmed that belief by simply saying, "Yes... He's going to try to [get on the court Thursday]," said Rivers. "... He's going to try to do something [Thursday] and we'll see. He’s had some improvement, but I don’t know how much. I’m just going by what [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and [team physician Dr. Brian] McKeon tell me. They thought he’s had some improvement."

So there. From Doc. Not even Danny, Doc. Of course it's still completely possible that he could be ruled out completely at any time... But I still have (marginal) hope that #36 will return. 

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