ATLANTA Jermaine O'Neal has made the decision to have season-ending wrist surgery and will meet with doctors on Wednesday to figure out which specific surgical procedure will be performed.
But as far as calling it quits on his career, O'Neal isn't quite ready to go that far yet.
"If this is my last ride in the NBA - I'm not sure it is yet - it would be from a collection of things," O'Neal told CSNNE.com in a phone interview on Tuesday. "It's more about the quality of life, being able to operate as a father, being able to run around with my kids. When they need me, not necessarily being crippled.
"I've had ankle surgery, I've had (left) knee surgeries, I'm about to have wrist surgery. I don't think people understand just how severe my wrist is. People don't know I completely tore the ligament in my wrist last year when I did it. Took the cortisone shot, but didn't realize how bad my wrist was getting."
At some point - possibly this week - O'Neal will need to have bone fusion surgery which would in effect, end his playing career.
"I'm dealing with a situation where I'm going to have to make a decision on when I have that, then yeah, I'm done," O'Neal said. "That's ultimately what I will need. There are a couple other surgeries that I could have ... that would give me a chance to play again, if that's what I choose to do this summer."
In a wide-ranging interview with CSNNE.com, O'Neal touched on several topics which included the rumors that he wanted a buy-out to go play for the Miami Heat - the team he played for prior to joining the Celtics.
"That's something that needs to be cleared up," he said. "I never asked Danny. I never spoke to Danny - quote me on this - about a buy-out. Danny has never spoken to me about a buy-out. Our conversation has always been strictly with (team trainer) Ed Lacerte and our doctors about my health and my ability to come back. "
O'Neal added, "He said to the media that we were going to have a conversation, and we both had the same question for each other, 'where does this stuff come from?' My concern and his concern was my ability to get back on the court. And if I couldn't, then I couldn't. He has supported me in such a way that ... me and my family appreciate that."