By A. Sherrod Blakely
HOUSTON Shaquille O'Neal is back with the Boston Celtics, running up and down the floor as they prepare to face the Houston Rockets tonight.
But that's the extent of what he's going to be providing the Celtics right now.
Despite being with the team for this three-game road trip, coach Doc Rivers said he doesn't anticipate O'Neal will play in any of the three games.
"I doubt if he plays on this trip, but he's close enough," said Rivers. "When they get close, we always bring them on trips because of shoot-arounds, and he can be involved in stuff that we're doing."
O'Neal, who hasn't played for the C's since Jan. 21, is looking forward to being around the team more.
"Playing by yourself, doing sprints by yourself is different from being in a game," said O'Neal, who hopes to practice with the team early next week. "I haven't been able to simulate game-type situations yet. You can only do so much by yourself. The true test is when I get out there with the guys, banging and pushing and off-balance. We'll see from there."