Shaq traveled with the team to New York. There was some thinking that he might actually return for Game 3 because of that. Doc Rivers led everyone to believe as much with his comments before the team left. But via CSN New England, it looks like Shaq will sit in Game 3.
(Let me say, "He's close" is really getting old. I realize Rivers has to say something, when asked every day about Shaq's condition, but if I were Doc I'd just say, "Hey, I'll let you know when he's back, OK?")
“I don’t want to talk. Let the players talk. I’m just trying to get back,” O’Neal said as he left the floor following Friday morning’s shoot-around.
The fact that the 39-year-old is with the team on the road is a signal that O’Neal’s health is improving. Although he is with the team for Games 3 and 4, Rivers said he’s definitely out for tonight’s Game 3 matchup and is doubtful for Game 4 on Sunday.
“He’s just feeling better,” Rivers said. “He’s close. I don’t know what he needs to show me. He’s not ready to play yet, but he’s getting closer. The fact that he’s getting closer, you bring him on the road.”
Without Shaq again tonight, the Celtics will turn to Jermaine O'Neal once again and hope he produces. While it's more likely Shaq will see some time in Game 4, if the Celtics go up 3-0, I wouldn't be shocked if Rivers used the extra time off to rest Shaq for that game in hopes of a sweep.