O'Neal is expected to miss the rest of Cleveland's regular season after tearing a ligament in his thumb when Davis blocked his shot in a game in Boston on Feb. 25. After the block, replays seemed to catch Davis squeezing O'Neal's hand on Cleveland's next possession.
Davis says he was simply battling O'Neal for position and didn't know the hand was injured until O'Neal called a timeout and said his thumb was broke as he walked toward the bench.
Davis texted O'Neal after the incident and says O'Neal responded, "Don't worry, I'll be back."
But a Cleveland crowd wasn't as kind on Sunday, hounding Davis with boos throughout the Cavs' win over the Celtics.
Asked about the crowd's reaction, Davis didn't avoid the questions asked by Cleveland's media.
"You guys made it look like I intentionally tried to hurt [O'Neal], but I wouldn't dare do that," said Davis. "Fans are fans, and they're used to heckling me and booing me. It is what it is."
Davis was fined $25,000 earlier this season for shouting an obscene phrase at a fan heckling him in Detroit. In a season where he's been pulled to the headlines as if he's carrying magnets in his pocket, Davis was forced to again explain the most discussed thumb war in NBA history.
"I wasn't paying attention and I didn't even know his thumb was hurt," said Davis, who endured a thumb injury of his own after an off-court altercation led to him missing the first 27 games of the regular season. "He made no indication. I was just playing basketball, trying to be a defensive agitator. I was messing with him, stuff like that. I never thought, in my mind, his thumb was hurting. I didn't find out until he called time out and said his thumb was broken. I was walking by the huddle, [thinking] 'Damn.' I didn't pay any attention to it."
Already showered with boos, Davis drew even more ire when he put a hard box-out on Anderson Varejao as the two chased a loose ball late in the third quarter. Varejao spilled hard into the front row as Davis prevented him from getting to a rebound as it trickled beyond the end line.
A local reporter questioned Davis after the game about whether his physical play "crossed the line." Davis earned a flagrant foul (that was later rescinded) earlier this year in a loss to the Hawks.
"I find if I cross the line, I get [technical fouls]," said Davis. "My job is to play hard. I'm an energy guy. I get loose balls. I go out there and try to be a factor.
"I'm a big guy. When I foul, it's usually to make sure [an opponent] doesn't make a layup or an and-1. I'm trying to make my presence felt under the rim. just trying to play the game like it's supposed to be played. I'm not trying to hurt somebody."
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.