On Saturday night, after a 49-day rest (well, it was only three, but it seemed like a LOT longer), the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are back in action with the Celtics down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup. However, Shaquille O’Neal is expected to be in uniform and ready to play. The question remains: just how healthy is he, and can he make a difference?
This will be the first time that Celtics fans get to see O’Neal in action for the Shamrocks during the postseason, and at 39 years of age, having played only one game since Feb. 1 (five minutes), many are wondering if his return is too little too late.
Certainly no one expected Shaq to be a dominant presence for the Celtics. He was brought in as a veteran presence who could provide some quality backup minutes at the center position while Kendrick Perkins was rehabbing from his knee surgery and share minutes with Jermaine O’Neal.
Well, Plan B fell into place. Perkins was traded to Oklahoma City, both O’Neals missed significant playing time during the regular season, and the Celtics clearly stumbled without a presence in the middle.
It remains to be seen how many minutes Shaq can give to the Celtics on the floor for Game 3, but bottom line is, if the Celtics lose tonight, it’s over. Plain and simple. Shaq being back won’t matter.
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