Shaq misses shootaround, will not play tonight

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Shaq misses shootaround, will not play tonight

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM The long-awaited return of Shaquille O'Neal?

It looks like it won't be tonight.

A team official told CSNNE.com that O'Neal did not participate in the team's closed walkthrough this morning. While it's still possible for him to suit up against the Memphis Grizzlies tonight, it seems unlikely.

For O'Neal, this will be the 22nd straight game that he'll be out with some type of right leg injury.

Based on the opponent, tonight would have been an ideal time for the 39-year-old center to return to action.

Memphis comes into tonight's game as the NBA's leader in points in the paint (50.9) per game.

To the Celtics credit, even without O'Neal they have made it difficult for teams to score around the basket, which can be seen in the fact that the C's give up an NBA-low 35.8 points in the paint.

The Celtics remain optimistic that he will be back playing, sooner rather than later.

O'Neal accompanied the team during their recent three-game road trip, but did not play in any of the games.

Prior to Boston's first game of the trip at Houston, O'Neal told reporters he was hopeful that he would be able to play at some point this week.

As far as where he's at in his recovery, O'Neal said it's difficult to get a read on because the Celtics have a lot of games and not a lot of practice time in between.

"I haven't been able to simulate game-type situations yet," he said. "You can only do so much by yourself. The true test is when I get out there with the guys and banging and pushing and off balance and all that. We'll see from there."

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

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”