Rivers: Shaq out today vs. Magic, maybe longer

Rivers: Shaq out today vs. Magic, maybe longer

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON The Big Shamrock remains on the big chill for the Boston Celtics.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed to CSNNE.com that Shaquille O'Neal will not play today against the Orlando Magic due to a right Achilles injury.

He later elaborated on O'Neal's status, telling a group of reporters that O'Neal might be shut down until after the all-star break.

While it's not considered a long-term injury, there's no definitive indication as to when the 7-foot-1 center will return to the lineup.

"When you're 38 years old, every day, you're day-to-day," Rivers said.

"His Achilles is inflamed," Rivers said. "If this were a playoff game, Shaq would play, let's be honest. But it's not. We're going to need him in the playoffs and we want him to be right and healthy. This gives him a chance to get right all the other things that are ailing him."

In addition to the Achilles injury, O'Neal has missed four other games recently with a series of right leg-related injuries.

Without O'Neal, the Celtics will start Kendrick Perkins at center.

Making his first start of the season against Dallas on Friday, Perkins had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

There is a slim chance that O'Neal and the medical staff could convince Rivers to have a last-minute change of heart, similar to what happened earlier this season involving Rajon Rondo.

However, the return of Perkins gives the C's added depth to fill the void left by not having O'Neal available.

Rivers admits he has been surprised at the durability Perkins has shown just six games into the season following offseason surgery to repair a torn MCL and PCL suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June.

"I didn't expect this," Rivers admitted, adding that Perkins has had some strong games and others where he hasn't been as effective. "I think that'll last until almost the playoffs. He'll be up and down. He'll have days where, he'll have tough-moving days. We expect that."

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

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.