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."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn
The New York Knicks arrive in Boston tonight with the accompanying "Melo-drama" of Carmelo Anthony's disintegrating relationship with team president Phil Jackson.
Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause to leave New York and Boston has been an oft-rumored destination.
On "The Toucher and Rich Show", the longtime voice of the Celtics, Mike Gorman, said he hopes it doesn't happen.
"I don't get it. I don't see it," Gorman said. "He's a ball stopper. One of the things that always intrigued me about Carmelo is when he's played with Team USA or an Olympic team, often he's the best player. Then you go and see him in a regular-season game and you say, 'Oh no, no."'
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