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Doc Rivers sounds a hopeful tone on Shaquille O’Neal

04.04.11 at 3:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers is holding out hope that he may get Shaquille O’Neal back by the end of the week after the big man strained his right calf on Sunday night in his first game back since early February.

“He may play at the end of the week,” said Rivers following Monday’s practice, which included every player except O’Neal. “We’re just not sure yet. If that’s what it requires. We’re going to do whatever they tell us is required. Other than that, I would love to play him, honestly, a couple of game.”

Rivers indicated O’Neal would definitely miss Tuesday’s home game against the 76ers after playing just six minutes in Sunday’s 101-90 win over the Pistons.

“If we can get that up to 20 minutes, that would be great. He looked agile. His energy was high. As far as his [six] minutes of play, that was good.”

Meanwhile, Nenad Krstic and Troy Murphy both returned to practice on Monday and are expected to give a try on Tuesday night at TD Garden. “I thought Nenad was tentative, honestly, but he got through the whole practice and that was good,” Rivers said of Krstic, who suffered only a bruised knee last Thursday in 10 minutes of play at San Antonio. Murphy rolled his ankle in practice on March 24 and has missed the last six games.

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