Shaq to miss Game 1, 'very close' to return

191544.jpg

Shaq to miss Game 1, 'very close' to return

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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.

Really.

No, really.

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."

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

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.