Shaquille O'Neal could sit until break

Updated: February 6, 2011, 3:05 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said reserve center Shaquille O'Neal will miss the next two games because of an inflamed Achilles and could be sidelined through the All-Star break as the team hopes to cure all the bumps and bruises that have limited O'Neal this season.

In sitting out Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic, O'Neal will miss his 14th game this season with a variety of injuries, including a bruised right knee, sore right calf and sore right hip.

"He's not going to be out a long time, but I don't think he'll be back today, tomorrow, maybe not even until we go on break, but we'll see," Rivers said.

Pressed on what the team needs to see in order to put O'Neal back on the floor, Rivers said he'll let the medical staff decide that. Rivers stressed that he won't rush to get O'Neal back on the floor.

"If this was a playoff game, Shaq would play, let's just be honest," Rivers said. "But it's not, and we're going to need him in the playoffs and we want him to be right and healthy. This gives him a chance to get all the other things that were ailing him right, too.

"Look, he's 38 years old, I'm sure you guys who have been to that age understand, you wake up and your body aches, it's just tough. He'll get right, we know that, we just want him to be right, and have the strength to play a number of games in a row where he can help, instead of just four or five games and then out."

The return of Kendrick Perkins has made the absence of Shaq a bit easier to endure. Even still, Rivers remains concerned about escalating Perkins' minutes so quickly. Perkins, who underwent offseason knee surgery, made his season debut Jan. 25, and Rivers said he'll continue to limit Perkins' floor time (preferring to keep his stints to no more than seven-minute chunks).

That means reserves Glen Davis and Semih Erden will be pressed into 1-on-1 duty against Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard Sunday. Joked Rivers: "Just pray for Semih and Baby tonight, if you can, because they're going to have to guard him."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

EDITORS' PICKS