Coach: Shaq, Delonte West near return

Updated: March 4, 2011, 9:11 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors that Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles) had lobbied to play this weekend, but Rivers suggested it's more likely that both O'Neal and guard Delonte West (sprained right ankle) will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Delonte is day-to-day, but I doubt he'll play this weekend," said Rivers, who will take his troops to Milwaukee for a Sunday night battle with the Bucks. The Celtics enjoy two days of rest before the Clippers visit.

"Shaq actually wants to play on Sunday, but I think he needs more practice time, so he'll probably play next Wednesday -- if nothing happens in practice, and I'm scared to say that now that our shootarounds been so grueling," Rivers said.

O'Neal, who has sat out the past 11 games and hasn't been on the floor since Feb. 1, participated in skeleton drills before Thursday's practice, but will likely need additional full-contact action before Rivers is confident to put him back out on the floor.

West has missed 51 games this season, including the past two after rolling his right ankle during skeleton drills in an informal practice with Boston's trade acquisitions on Sunday.

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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