Jermaine O'Neal's season and possibly his career came to a close on Friday when he underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist.
The surgery, which was performed by Celtics team physician Brian McKeon and Drew Terrono at the New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, according to the team, was expected to limit the mobility in O'Neal's non-shooting hand to the extent that his NBA career could be over after 16 seasons.
O'Neal was a source of exasperation for Celtics fans for his inability to stay on the court and because he replaced fan favorite Kendrick Perkins, although O'Neal was not as bad as most fans pretended he was. O'Neal was limited to 25 games this season with an assortment of wear-related injuries. He re-aggravated his degenerative wrist while taking a charge against the Mavericks on Feb. 20 and had not played since.
O'Neal posted averages of 13.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 16 seasons after jumping straight to the NBA out of Eau Claire High School in Columbia, S.C., in 1996. His best season was 2003-04, when he averaged 20.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 78 games with the Pacers and was a second-team All-NBA pick.