By Jessica Camerato
Shaquille ONeal has yet to announce his plans for next season, and while some would be surprised to see him return to the court for the Boston Celtics, his mother would not be.
Even though ONeal has not expressed a decision to her, Lucille ONeal believes her son could play again.
He went there to help them win a championship and they didnt do that this year, she told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Wednesday at an induction ceremony for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Americas Alumni Hall of Fame. It bothered him so much that he could not play. He felt like he let the Boston team down and the community down, so I could believe hes going back to Boston. Hes not in a place to be traded or anything like that.
Last week Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge told CSNNE he believed ONeal would retire.
"I think so," Ainge said upon being asked if he thought ONeal had played his last NBA game. "It's early to make those emotional decisions, but my guess is he has.
After battling a series of injuries, ONeal appeared in 37 regular season games (9.2 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game) and played just 12 minutes over two postseason games (1.0 ppg, 0 rpg) for the Celtics.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.
Brian Scalabrine sounds off on the critics that think the Boston Celtics play better without Isaiah Thomas after the Celtics beat the Magic by 30.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season.
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday.
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious.
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio.
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart.
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.