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Shaquille O’Neal won’t return until after All-Star break

The Celtics [1] thought Shaquille O’Neal [2] would be out for a few games with what they called an inflamed Achilles. A few games have lasted longer than they expected and now it seems unlikely that O’Neal will be back until after next weekend’s All-Star break at the earliest.

It’s not just Shaq. Fellow center Semih Erden (groin, strained abductor) is also not likely to return before the break.

“Semih’€™s out until after the break and Shaq will be too,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following the team’s practice on Saturday. “We don’€™t even know if they’€™ll be back after the break right now. Semih’€™s groin is not improving and Shaq’€™s Achilles is not improving at all. We thought we’€™d have them both back by the last game, but that’€™s fine. We’€™re good.”

Rivers said Shaq’s injury has not gotten worse, but it hasn’t improved. “It just hasn’€™t healed,” the coach said. “It’€™s no worse, but it hasn’€™t healed as quickly.”

The Celtics are already without Jermaine O’Neal [3] (knee surgery) and Marquis Daniels [4] (bruised spinal cord) for at least the next month, if not longer. They hope to get Delonte West [5] back Wednesday when they play the Nets [6] in their final game before the break. Following the break, the Celtics will head out west for a four-game road trip with games against the Clippers, Warriors, Jazz [7] and Nuggets.