Shaq suffers calf injury after only 5 minutes
After missing nearly two months with inflammation in his right heel, O’Neal, 39, had played nearly six productive minutes against the Detroit Pistons to end the first quarter. He had six spry points and a rebound, but injured the calf less than a minute into the second quarter.
O’Neal, who missed 27 straight games, struggled to get back to the bench and quickly was led down the corridor to the locker room. At times, witnesses say, he appeared to crumple with the pain. There was fear that he aggravated that heel.
“It had nothing to do with the Achilles’; it’s a calf strain,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after Boston’s victory. “It’s not a bad strain, but it’s a strain.”
When asked how long he could be lost, Rivers said the team doctor told him, “That it’s very minor.”
After missing two months, Rivers said he would bring O’Neal back with 10-12 minutes on Sunday, and slowly integrate him with the second unit. Rivers planned to let O’Neal sit out some of the Celtics’ remaining games.
After missing 56 games this season, Jermaine O’Neal(notes), who had left knee surgery, finally returned to the Celtics’ lineup on Thursday in San Antonio. Also, 7-footer Nenad Krstic(notes) is expected to return Tuesday against Philadelphia after suffering a bone bruise in a knee last week.
The Celtics have lost two players for extended time with strained calfs this season &nsdash; Kevin Garnett (three weeks) and Von Wafer (month).