By A.Sherrod Blakely
WALTHAM One of the more popular halftime acts in the NBA is a husband-and-wife tandem better known as Quick Change.
They appear in outfits that literally change, quickly -- hence the name, Quick Change -- before your eyes.
We're seeing a little bit of that these days when it comes to Shaquille O'Neal and the return date for his injuries.
The latest ailment O'Neal is dealing with is a strained right calf suffered in the second quarter of Boston's 101-90 win over Detroit on Sunday.
Coach Doc Rivers reiterated on Monday that O'Neal's latest injury is "not that bad, not that severe."
"He will not probably play the rest of this week," said Rivers, who had a Quick Change moment of his own, and added, "table that. He might play at the end of this week. We're just not sure yet."
Figuring out what to do with O'Neal, healthy or not at this point, is a delicate matter for the Celtics.
While there's certainly some merit in getting him on the floor in spot-duty now to help better prepare him for the playoffs, they run the risk of having a repeat of Sunday night's game, in which O'Neal suffered a right calf strain after playing less than six minutes.
Although Rivers says there's a chance that Shaq may play against Washington on Friday, the Celtics haven't ruled out shutting him down until the playoffs, either.
"If that's what it requires," Rivers said. "We're going to do whatever they doctors tell us is required. Other than that, I would love to play him a couple games."
Even before the injury, Rivers made it clear that O'Neal would not play in all of the C's remaining regular-season games.
The same restrictions are not likely to apply to Nenad Krstic.
Krstic suffered a bone bruise in his right knee in last week's win at San Antonio, an injury that the Celtics initially feared would be worst than it turned out.
An MRI revealed the bone bruise, which has kept the 7-foot center out of Boston's last two games.
However, he was able to practice with the team on Monday and is optimistic that he'll play Tuesday against Philadelphia.
Following Monday's practice, he said the knee was still sore but "it's fine."
When the injury first happened, Krstic admitted he was a bit nervous because it reminded him of when he suffered a torn ACL in 2007 with the New Jersey Nets, an injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season.
But after the initial pain wore off, Krstic was optimistic about coming back soon even before he knew the MRI results.
"I knew right away it wasn't as serious as it was in New Jersey," he said. "I was upset."
But the pain was soon replaced by stiffness -- stiffness that Krstic said is nearly gone.
"I'm fine now," he said.