By A. Sherrod Blakely
MIAMI Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that Shaquille O'Neal is still in "suit and tie" status, but the end of his inactive days appear to be nearly over.
For the first time since he re-aggravated the right calfAchilles injury against Detroit on April 3, Rivers actually has a definitive drop-dead date for O'Neal to suit up for the C's.
"He's getting very close," Rivers said. "We actually had to make a decision (on whether he would play) today. So that's better than what we've had to do in the past."
Rivers added that O'Neal may play in Game 2 on Tuesday, and "for sure in Game 3."
While there's no telling how much the Celtics would get from O'Neal once he returns to action, there's no question that his presence will have an impact on how the Heat defend the C's.
Miami center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who will likely spend some time guarding O'Neal when he does return to the Celtics lineup, knows that O'Neal will cause problems even if he's in a limited capacity.
"He's a handful," Ilgauskas told CSNNE.com. "Really good player, smart player. Eats up a lot of space. I'm sure he'll play. It won't be easy, but we'll be ready."
And in other Celtics-related news, Rivers decided to have former Heat guard Carlos Arroyo on the active roster. Replacing him on the inactive list will be Sasha Pavlovic.
"He knows this team," Rivers said of Arroyo. "He was in their training camp. He was in their practices. He knows their personnel. So I just thought he may be able to help us in some way."