Apr 1, 2011, 3:20 PM EST
When the Boston Celtics take the floor in Atlanta Friday night, Jermiane O’Neal will be the starting center.
But he has been off with knee surgery since January, now playing on the second night of a back-to-back. He can’t be counted on for big minutes. So who follows him?
That’s not a lot. But the fact they are calling it a “leg injury” and not saying anything about the severity suggests exactly what went through all our minds when we saw it happen — this is going to be bad. Which would be bad for Boston.
Shaquille O’Neal may be back this weekend, or soon. Boston is going to need him. They are likely to get New York or Philadelphia in the first round, two teams that could push Boston (the Sixers are the scariest lower seed in the East). Then the second round would be Miami, where exploiting the Heat in the paint will be a key to winning the series. Boston needs healthy big men to do that.
And right now they have one less.
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