|Shaq misses practice, status uncertain||10.31.10 at 4:42 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Shaquille O’Neal didn’t practice Sunday and his status for the week ahead is uncertain. He banged his fibula in a collision with Amar’e Stoudemire Friday late in the Celtics win over the Knicks and did not return. “I always have a freak injury,” O’Neal said Sunday. “We’ll be all right.”
O’Neal said that he hopes to practice Monday, but he may have to sit out for the next few days. The Celtics play at Detroit Tuesday and host the Bucks on Wednesday. The Celtics did get good news, however, when Jermaine O’Neal returned to practice.
“The O’Neal brothers are both banged up a little bit,” Doc Rivers said. “Jermaine actually practiced most of the practice. He went in and out, but he had a pretty good practice. Our fear, and it’s going to happen one day, [is] where we’re not going to have either one of the O’Neal brothers. That would be a concern for us. Right now, I think we’ll have Jermaine [Tuesday] and I don’t know about Shaq.”
If both can’t play, Rivers indicated that he would probably start Semih Erden, rather than Glen Davis because he prefers to have Davis come off the bench and backup the four and five spots in the rotation.
“He knows how to play,” Rivers said of Erden who has not seen any time yet this season. “He’s just trying to learn how to play our way. The language barrier is a problem, there’s no doubt about that. You just got to keep working on him. He’s going to be a good big in this league and he’s going to be a good big for a long time. What we don’t know is he a good enough big right now.”
As for Davis, who has averaged better than 14 points and five rebounds while playing almost as many minutes as the O’Neals have combined, Rivers explained his rationale: “When you start him, you really take away your options. Then if he gets into foul trouble you take away all his options. It would be either Semih or J.O. Like I’ve told you guys for two years, when Baby gets outside of his role is when he struggles. When he stays within himself he’s an excellent basketball player.”
The Celtics hope is that Jermaine O’Neal can be ready to play. He missed a good chunk of training camp dealing with various injuries and acknowledged Sunday that it’s been a frustrating experience.
“My comfort level is probably at an all-time low,” he said. “It’s been rough to be honest. I’m not going to lie. I’m disappointed.”
O’Neal said he has also been adjusting to his role with the Celtics.
“My role with this team isn’t what I’m used to,” he said. “I’m not asked to come in and score. I have to get used to just running to the boards, trying to block shots and play defense. That’s my job and getting used to that and mentally locking in is something I’m getting used to but at the same time I accept that and I want to do my job. But I can’t do my job when I’m not on the court.”
Rivers has been encouraged by the rebounding effort from Paul Pierce through the first three games. Pierce had 14 rebounds Friday and 25 for the season. “When Paul rebounds, we’re good. Bottom line,” Rivers said. “I’ve told Paul that for three years now. The first thing I do with the stat sheet I go to Paul Pierce and I go to the rebounds.”
Ray Allen and Delonte West engaged in an odd shooting drill after practice. Both took turns lying on the floor, hopping up and running to the 3-point line for shots.
“That’s Ray Allen right there,” West said. “One of the greatest shooters in the history of the world. If you want to come off the floor and shoot jumpers, I’m following. That’s how that goes. I just got another lesson today. Just when you think you know it all, you learn something different. I got a one-on-one lesson from one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA. It doesn’t get better than that. If you want me to get off the floor, I’m coming off the floor.”
Marquis Daniels spent part of his off-day Thursday raising money for Haiti through his Q6 Foundation. Daniels hosted the mayor of Port-au-Prince, Jean-Yves Jason. “It’s just something I wanted to do,” Daniels said. “I’m from Florida and I have a lot of Haitian friends. I saw what happened over there and made me want to be a part of it.”
More details are available on the Q6 Foundation website.