Waltham, Ma. — The Celtics are set to board a plane Thursday afternoon en route to New York, where they'll take on the Knicks in Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series Friday and Sunday. At the moment, it's unclear whether Shaquille O'Neal will be with them.
Shaq definitely won't play Friday — this much we know — but will he make the trip at all?
"I'm not sure yet," coach Doc Rivers said at practice Wednesday. "It depends on what's best. If he's closer to playing, then yes. If you see him on the trip, that means he's really close. If he goes on the trip, that means we think he'll play Sunday, but we're not sure."
O'Neal tried to test his injured right calf on Saturday morning and failed; he showed up for treatments at Monday's practice and didn't even try to run on the bad leg. He's been monitored closely this week by head trainer Ed Lacerte and physician Brian McKeon, and the two have said Shaq is in better shape than earlier this week.
"He's had some improvement, but I don't know how much," Rivers said. "I'm just going by what Eddie and McKeon tell me. They say, 'Doc, he's had some improvement,' so I'll relay that on to you guys."