By A. Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON Some of the Boston Celtics are donning a new look of sorts, but this is the kind of fashion trend they would just as soon end sooner rather than later.
Shaquille O'Neal, who hasn't played since Feb. 1 due to an assortment of right leg-related injuries, is now wearing an immobilization boot.
And Troy Murphy, who suffered an ankle sprain in a recent practice, is also wearing a boot.
"Boots now, if you have a wart now, you put a boot on these days," quipped Doc Rivers. "Everybody has a boot. I'm going to get one."
While the idea of wearing a boot may seem to indicate a serious injury, Rivers said that's not the case with either O'Neal or Murphy's injuries.
Murphy is considered day-to-day, while O'Neal is still on target to play sometime next week.
By immobilizing O'Neal's foot, there's a belief that this will lead to a more speed recovery.
"I just think they're trying to speed it up, more than (it) getting worst," Rivers said. "I jus know they decided to do it, put a boot on. I don't think it's a setback because we haven't had a set; we haven't figured out a date when he's coming back. Talking to Eddie (Lacerte, the team's trainer), they think it's the same, in about a week or so."
Yeah. Even Rivers recognized the repetitious nature of the latest update on Shaq.
"I've been saying a week for about three weeks now," he said. "So I don't think it's changed any."
He isn't the only O'Neal on target to return soon.
Rivers said Jermaine O'Neal, who underwent surgery on his left knee in February, will join the team when they play at Indiana on Monday.
He will not play in that game, but Rivers anticipates he will be able to participate in practice leading up to the Celtics' matchup with San Antonio on Friday.
Rivers also said that while Von Wafer (right calf) is back practicing with the team, he won't play tonight or on Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.