Shaquille O'Neal's Return Could Hurt Celtics' Championship Chances, Study Shows Shaquille O'Neal will (somehow) be ready to go on Sunday. That's super news for the Celtics, right?

Well, no, according to one study.

If the 39-year-old big man starts Sunday's playoff opener against the Knicks, then the Celtics will be sending out the sixth-oldest playoff team since 1992, according to a study in The Wall Street Journal.

While age equals experience, the study explains that of the 20 oldest teams since '92, only one has gone on to win a championship. That team was the 1998 Chicago Bulls, and it's rather safe to say, with all due respect to Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, that there is no Michael Jordan on the 2010-11 Celtics.

Should Shaq start, the average age of the Celtics' starting five will be 33 years, 250 days, with only Rajon Rondo (25 years old) on the opposite side of 30.

Of the eight oldest teams in recent history, only one (2003-04 Lakers, fourth-oldest) even made the Finals, while the 1998-99 Pacers (sixth-oldest) are the only other team to make it past the second round.