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Report: Shaq to return to Celtics by April 1. No fooling.

Mar 24, 2011, 4:28 PM EDT

shaq-return-april-1

Boston just needs to get everyone back and healthy for the playoffs, then everything will be just fine. That’s the mantra, so say it with me. Everyone back and healthy for the playoffs.

But they could use to get their big men back a little before that. Just to remember what everybody looks like, work on the chemistry and defensive rotations a little. That kind of fun.

Looks like they are in luck — Shaquille O’Neal plans to be back by April 1, according to Peter May at Boston.com. Shaq has been out since Feb. 1 with an Achilles injury as well as assortment of other bumps and bruises.

A team source on Wednesday said that O’Neal is mending and on schedule for a return by April 1. That would give him two weeks to get reacquainted with the teammates he left — and acquainted with the five new teammates with whom he has yet to play.

Shaq would be the starter, his backup would be Jermaine O’Neal, who also is expecting to be back with the team just before April 1, GM Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald.

Jermaine has been able to run for three weeks now without swelling in the knee, which is a good sign.

If Boston gets their big men back, they should have the last couple weeks of the season — plus a likely very winnable first round matchup — to get all the issues worked out for when the games get very difficult I the second round.

  1. eazye76 - Mar 24, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    I don’t know why you would bring him back on April 1 and risk getting him hurt against Atl, Cha, and Det. They HAVE to have him for the playoffs. Without Perkins it’s a lot more important to have a healthy Shaq than the #2 seed.

  2. chargerdillon - Mar 24, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Shaq + healthy = a bigman who’s still too old

    Shaq + being in shape = what the celtics need to win in the playoffs

    Furthermore

    Shaq + healthy = Celtics are going to be in trouble

  3. zackd2 - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    “If Shaq and Perk were healthy we would be BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK champions!”

    -Celtic fans for the next 12 months

    • davidly - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:33 AM

      Plus: “Now that Perk is gone, LA will never be able to beat our starting five; therefore, we are the champions forever!”
      -green with envy

  4. philtration - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Good.
    Then the Celtics will be even older and slower if they face the Bulls in the playoffs.

    • philtration - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM

      Oh…. and the younger also Bulls have the Heat’s 1st round draft pick this year too.

      • hnirobert3 - Mar 25, 2011 at 8:00 AM

        The Heat’s 1st round draft pick will be in the mid to high 20′s. The NBA draft is not like the NFL draft, the chances of getting an impact player past the 5th pick is just about slim to none.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:15 AM

        Agreed. Late second round pick is worth basically nothing. Occasionally a team will find a diamond in the rough….but more than likely you’ll find Renaldo Balkman.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:16 AM

        **Meant to say late first round pick. I’ll correct that before I get comments about being wrong.

  5. davidly - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    So that first round match up is “likely very winnable”? Is that like, “probably winnable” and “rather winnable” all wrapped up into a “super winnable” first round series Boston fans have to look forward to?

  6. henryd3rd - Mar 25, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    Let me get this straight, Shaq may be able to go on or about April Fools Day. Jermaine has been running the past two weeks without swelling in his knees. Rondo is nursing injuries and Perkins was traded to The Thunder. Chicago is now the number one seed in the East and they have been healthy and winning the past two months. And Celtic fans are still are still optimistic? It must be the water on the East Coast; because the same song is being song in NYC and that is we’ll be ready for the playoffs.

    • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      Yes, because the Celtics made it into the finals last year because they were completely healthy and winning all games the last month of the season. I seem to remember a team that rested their players and were getting beat by bad teams. Maybe Celtics fans are optimistic because things are shaping up EXACTLY like they did last year?

      The Celtics have played like crap the past few weeks, yet they still have the 4th best record in the league (and only one game out of being tied as the top in the East).

      But hey, people only seem to have short term memory and only look at the past few weeks. Bulls are healthy and hot, Celtics are old and injured….well, obviously the Bulls will run away with the title and Celtics will get knocked out in the second round, right?

      • henryd3rd - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        Can I ask one question? Who are the reining NBA Champions? Last time I looked they were the Lakers? That old adage that one must beat the reining Champion before one can call themselves Champs is still in effect? And the Celtics are pinning their hopes on The O’Neals who have been hampered by injuries all season.

        And now you want me to believe that they will be ready to go in the playoffs? Right! Granted they are battle tested; but I’m a basketball fan not a Celtic fan and I don’t see them advancing very far with this group of aging injured veterans.

        Plus there is the little matter of home court advantage and it would lead me to believe that the Celtics will not get past the second round if they get that far.

      • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:15 AM

        What does the Lakers being the current champs have anything to do with the Celtics success in how far they go in the playoffs?

        Packers won the Super Bowl this year….I don’t like the Bears chances…

    • passerby23 - Mar 28, 2011 at 7:14 PM

      henryd3rd, are you repeating the same mistake made by everyone last year? They’re too old. They don’t have homecourt. They have too many injuries. Despite their woes of late, their defense has still been lockdown. I wouldn’t sleep on Boston. When the playoffs come, they will be ready. I’m still picking Chicago to come out of the East, but only because I think it’s their time, not because of Boston’s age.

      LA beating Boston in the Finals is a moot point. It came down to the final minutes of a game in which Boston led the whole way. If Ray Allen makes even a couple shots in Game 3 (as opposed to 0-13), they probably win the series in 5.

  7. philtration - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Yes, a late 1st round pick is not as good as a top 5 pick but to say that the chances of getting an impact player outside of the top 5 picks is slim to none is not even close to being true.
    The Bulls drafted Taj Gibson late in the 1st round and he has worked out very well for them.
    NBA history is loaded with great players taken after the 5th pick.
    You don’t have to draft Michael Jordan to have these players make a difference you know.
    Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce , Horace Grant, Brook Lopez, Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler, Tim Hardaway, Karl Malone, Joe Johnson, Dell Curry, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Ron Artest, Shawn Kemp, Jermaine O’Neal, Joe Dumars, Rajon Rondo, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Vlade Divac, Dennis Rodman, Tony Parker…

    All of these players were draft with the 10th pick or lower in the 1st round.
    None of them have made any impact in the NBA?

  8. mickdamill - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    There is no wasy Shaq is going to be in shape for the playoffs.

    • andyhr17 - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Shaq hasn’t been in shape for years. He is what he is: A big body in the middle.

  9. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 25, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    He better stop eating popeyes, his hand’s will be greasey.

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