Shaq with Celtics, questionable for Game 4

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Shaq with Celtics, questionable for Game 4

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK And now for the latest installment of, 'As the Shaquille O'Neal injury drama turns,' a team official told CSNNE.com that O'Neal will in fact travel with the team to New York.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said earlier that O'Neal was definitely out for Game 3 of Boston's first-round playoff series on Friday. However, O'Neal being with the team means that there is at least some thought to him possibly suiting up for Game 4 on Sunday.

"He's had some improvement, but I don't know how much," Rivers said on Wednesday. "If you see him on the trip, he's really close."

Prior to the team departing for New York Thursday afternoon, O'Neal was expected to do some work to see if his injury had improved enough to where it would be worthwhile to bring him to New York.

Rivers told CSNNE.com following Wednesday's film session that O'Neal was being fitted for some equipment that could ease some of the pain upon his return, a signal that the C's are very much anticipating him returning to the lineup soon.

"Obviously, if he goes on the trip we think he might play that Sunday, but we're not sure."

O'Neal has not played since April 1 against Detroit.

After missing the previous 27 games, O'Neal played less than six minutes against the Pistons before the right leg injury flared up once again.

Celtics physician Dr. Brian McKeon said that the three muscles in the triceps surae complex of his right leg are all sore.

"This is a tough injury," said Dr. McKeon. "The blood supply in this area is so weak and so poor it needs time. I was telling Danny (Ainge, the C's president of basketball operations) 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."

Not having O'Neal is nothing new for the Celtics.

The future Hall of Famer has played in a career-low 37 games this season.

While there are some who believe the Celtics have just been overly cautious with O'Neal, Rivers is quick to say that the reason O'Neal isn't playing is because he simply isn't healthy enough to go.

"He'll come back when he's ready to come back, and not a moment sooner," Rivers told CSNNE.com.

Based on the way their first-round series with the Knicks has gone, there doesn't seem to be an overwhelming sense of urgency to bring O'Neal back.

The C's have had their problems rebounding, and having O'Neal back would certainly help in that area.

That's why Game 3 on Friday is so pivotal not only for the teams, but it may impact how soon O'Neal returns.

If the Celtics win Game 3 and take a 3-0 lead, Boston might be less inclined to bring him back in a decisive Game 4 and instead be more focused on having him ready to go in the next round with the opponent most likely being the Miami Heat.

Rivers isn't thinking that far ahead.

"I just want to get through the next game," Rivers said. "And after that, the game after that. The game at hand, that's the only game that counts."

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

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

With the Knicks and Celtics having yet to find common ground on a trade for Kristaps Porzingis, it appears the C’s are trying to add to their stable of draft picks in order to facilitate an agreement. 

RELATED: Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 8.0

ESPN’s Ian Begley reported Thursday afternoon that Boston was offering a pick it had yet to acquire, with CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely following up that it’s the seventh overall pick. The C’s already have the third overall pick. 

The NBA draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m.

Reports: Celtics engaged on Porzinigis trade talks but asking price is 'massive'

Reports: Celtics engaged on Porzinigis trade talks but asking price is 'massive'

In the hours leading up to the draft, the Knicks continue to talk to teams -- including the Celtics -- about a trade for Kristaps Porzingis but are seeking a "massive" return, according to multiple reports. 

RELATED: Would this monster haul land Porzingis?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical reports that the Celtics are among several teams so far unwilling to meet the Knicks' price.

Knicks president Phil Jackson is said to covet Kansas forward Josh Jackson in the draft, who many have speculated the Celtics could take with the No. 3 pick. CSN Celtics Insider Sherrod Blakely, on the Toucher and Rich this morning, proposed a potential C's package of tonight's No. 3 pick, next year's Brooklyn pick, Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown as a potential haul for Porzingis. 

Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Celtics "remain in pursuit."

But Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe and Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald are skeptical anything will get done:

Frank Isola of The New York Daily News says it's "the moon and two Brooklyn picks," i.e. the haul Blakely proposed - this year's No. 3 and the 2018 first-round pick from the Nets that the Celtics own from the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett deal, Brown and Crowder. Also, the Celtics taking on the remaining two years (at more than $18 million per) of Joakim Noah's contract from the Knicks could factor into the deal.