By A.Sherrod Blakely
WALTHAM Shaquille O'Neal failed a conditioning test Saturday morning, and has been ruled out indefinitely by the Boston Celtics.
Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, made the announcement this afternoon with team physician, Dr. Brian McKeon.
"He has been making progress," Ainge said. "We tried to get him out there to practice today, simulate the game as much as we could. He's not ready. We don't know when he'll be ready."
McKeon said the trial O'Neal was involved in consisted of him running, a test McKeon acknowledged O'Neal had failed.
"It didn't work," McKeon said. "It's just too sore. We're going to spend another ... get back to tomorrow and hopefully we'll get him back soon."
O'Neal has had an assortment of right leg injuries all season.
After missing 27 games, O'Neal returned to the Celtics lineup on April 3 against the Detroit Pistons. He played well, but re-aggravated his right calf injury after less than six minutes of court time.
McKeon said the nature of his injury remains in the calf and Achilles region of his right leg.
"This is a tough injury," McKeon said. "The blood supply in this area is so weak. It just needs time."
Time is something O'Neal and the Celtics don't have a lot of right now.
New York doesn't have a ton of big bodies in the frontcourt, so to not have O'Neal for some or even all of the Knicks series, probably won't have much of an impact.
But when you look at a possible second-round matchup with the Miami Heat, size does matter.
And if the C's can somehow survive that, O'Neal and his presence will surely be needed if Boston runs into top-seeded Chicago.