The Boston Celtics added the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Semih Erden, and Jermaine O’Neal this off-season in hopes of bolstering the Celtics front-court while also providing an insurance policy in case Kendrick Perkins recovery from knee surgery went sour.
As it turns out, it’s not Perkins’ knee that’s wreaking havoc on Danny Ainge’s depth this season, but the knee of Jermaine O’Neal.
Having already missed 20 games due to the knee, O’Neal was on track to return to the Celtics rotation on a more consistent basis after Christmas (and a two- month rest) but sat out the second half of Friday’s win over the Toronto Raptors with soreness in his knee. The knee swelled up more on Wednesday forcing the Celtics and O’Neal to take a closer look at all of their options from here on out.
The options? Surgery is a no-brainer, but when? That’s what the Celtics brass and the veteran center must decide as O’Neal missed his 21st game of the season on Wednesday, as they will need to decide whether or not they push of surgery to the off-season or have it right away in hopes that he can be ready to go by the end of the regular season.
But there are no guarantees to how the 14-year veteran will respond to surgery and even if he did respond well, their may not be enough time for him to recover in-time for a return this season.
Nonetheless, it looks like Ainge will have to look through the scrap heap or waiver wire, or possibly acquire another big man through a trade to take the spot of O’Neal.