Rivers refutes report Shaq is done for playoffs

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Rivers refutes report Shaq is done for playoffs

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers refuted a report that it would take a "miraculous recovery" for Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal to return for the playoffs.

"I know that's not true," Rivers told CSNNE.com. "He's going to play. I just don't know when."

O'Neal has played a career-low 37 games this season for the C's, primarily because of multiple injuries to his right leg.

Dr. Brian McKeon, the C's team doctor, said the 39-year-old has a triceps surae injury which has created pain around his right calf and Achilles tendon that has been too painful for him to play through.

The team put O'Neal through a running drill on Saturday, but McKeon said O'Neal failed it.

The report alleging that paints the return of O'Neal as being unlikely was in the North Andover Eagle Tribune.

The newspaper cited an unnamed source who said that, "if he were to come back, it would have to be a miraculous recovery. And at his age (39 years old) and physical condition, the Celtics have planned accordingly."

According to the report, the decision to plan on life without O'Neal was made shortly after he failed the running drill on Saturday.

That same day, McKeon as well as Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, addressed the media to give an update on O'Neal's status.

"He's actually made progression every day," McKeon said. "This is a tough injury. The blood supply in this area is so weak and so poor . . . it needs time. I was telling Danny and the coaches, in the last 20 years of medicine, this is one area we have made no progress. It's just time. It's hard to get enough healing potential in that area."

Ainge added, "It's not like there is this magic test. The test is, does it hurt? You run up and down the court and does it hurt. That's the test. And can you play."

Even before O'Neal arrived, the Celtics made a strong push to bolster the center position.

That mindset didn't change after they traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City.

In addition to Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal, the C's also have Nenad Krstic (he came over as part of the Perkins trade with the Thunder) and Troy Murphy, who signed with the Celtics after being waived by the New Jersey Nets. The Celtics also use Glen Davis and Kevin Garnett at times at the center position.

Surgery won't fix his injury, and cortisone shots have little effect on that part of the body, McKeon said.

"The longer we wait, the better chance he has of being healthy."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

The Washington Wizards plan to roll into tonight’s game against the Celtics donning all-black clothes, as in a funeral procession, a sign of solidarity and an omen of sorts for a game that they hope ends with them burying the Celtics.
 
When Jae Crowder was asked about the Wizards all-black gear, his initial response...“That’s cute!”
 
More than anything, the Wizards (24-20) are putting a significant amount of value into tonight’s game. A victory would extend their home winning streak to 14.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (26-17) come in looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
 
“This is definitely not Game 7 or the playoffs,” said Isaiah Thomas. “But if they want to take it that serious, they can.”
 
The idea to arrive at the Verizon Center donning all-black was hatched by Bradley Beal, who has some contentious moments, to say the least, with the Celtics recently.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows all about the funeral talk which to him is just that, talk. He’s more concerned with his team doing what they need to do in order to win.
 
Nothing more.
 
Nothing less.
 
“At the end of the day, good basketball teams are physical,” he said. “There’s a line you don’t want to cross. Ultimately, you have to be appropriately physical at a high level. It’s about playing well, focus on your next task at hand. This is a great opportunity to see where we’re at.”

In the Celtics' 117-108 win over the Wizards on Jan. 11, Beal was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after getting into it with Marcus Smart.
 
Last season, Beal was on the receiving end of a left forearm to the face from Smart, who was driving to the basket at the time. The blow resulted in a broken nose for Beal in addition to spending time in the league’s concussion protocol program.
 
And then there’s his backcourt mate John Wall.
 
He was fined $15,000 for his role in a postgame incident with Jae Crowder (who was fined $25,000). Crowder pushed Wall’s nose with his finger, which led to Wall retaliating with a slap towards Crowder’s face.
 
And when the two met back on Nov. 9, Wall was hit with a flagrant-2 foul (an automatic ejection) when he threw Smart down hard to floor in the final moments of a Wizards win.
 
The Celtics have a few games that have become more physical than others recently, but there’s something about this Celtics-Wizards matchup that brings out an elevated level of feistiness.
 
“It’s just all talk; that’s all it is,” Thomas said. “I guess they taking it and running with it. I don’t know what it is. I [saw] the funeral and the all-black thing last night and I just laughed about it. We’ll be there tonight for a game, not a funeral.”
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

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