Celtics Still Lacking Definitive Answers on Health of Shaquille O’Neal


Doc Rivers says Shaquille O'Neal will definitely play at some point during this postseason.

An anonymous source in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune says otherwise.

Who's right?

At the moment, the best answer is neither. Because at the moment, if you claim to have a definitive read on this situation one way or the other, you're a liar. The truth is that no one knows the truth.

Everyone's trying to dig to the bottom of this Shaq story, trying to find the truth. How bad is this calf injury? How long will he be out? How hard are the Celtics pushing him back?

Everyone wants answers. But answers are really hard to come by right now. No one knows the truth about Shaq — not me, not you, not an anonymous source in a newspaper. Not even Doc Rivers. If an unnamed "NBA source" — not a source close to Shaq himself, not even a Celtics source, but an "NBA source" — says how hurt Shaq is, you have to take it with several grains of salt.

There's nothing seriously wrong with Shaq's leg, structurally speaking. He doesn't need surgery. He just needs better blood supply and more strength, and that simply takes time. As outsiders, we have no way of knowing how much time he needs.

Even Danny Ainge is in the dark about this. When he was asked Saturday about if or when the Celtics could ever give up on Shaq, the exec hesitated and offered merely, "When the season's over, I guess." When pressed for details on Shaq's timetable, he replied, "There's no magic test. The only test is does it hurt?"

If Ainge doesn't know, there's no way we can.

Every day Shaq wakes up and walks out of bed in the morning. Usually, it hurts less each day than the day before, but occasionally there are setbacks. It's a day-to-day thing, and it's not anything that one source in one newspaper story can finalize.

One thing's for sure: Shaq wants to play. He's got four championships to his name in 18 seasons, and he's dying to win another. It's hard to be a champion when you're on the bench wearing a tie and jacket.

Shaq's going to keep trying to make a comeback. If you think he's bound to fail, I question your judgment.

What do you think will happen with Shaq? Share your thoughts below.

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