Shaquille O'Neal has been out of sight and out of earshot for the most part since last playing Feb. 1. But on Monday, the day after his 39th birthday, he attended a party at the Children's Museum and said he is close to returning from a sore right Achilles' tendon.
He said he has asked to take a cortisone shot and play, but Doc Rivers, team physician Dr. Brian McKeon and Celtic mates Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have rejected that idea.
"I would have liked to have been out there (in Milwaukee) with the guys (Sunday) night," O'Neal said. "But I was ordered not to by (the) Docs (Rivers and McKeon) and the Big Three. They want me back at 100 percent. I tried to run on it the other day and it felt pretty good, but afterward it didn't and I kind of took a step back.
"Hopefully in a few days or a week or so I'll be back. Hopefully another week."
O'Neal said that he would be playing now if this were the playoffs.
"Yes, and I would probably have to go back to a little old-school tactics," he said. "But I have to give credit to Doc McKeon and Doc Rivers because they wouldn't let me shoot it up and go out. I'm an old-school guy. If I can walk, I can play, and I've had to shoot it up many times. But they want me 100 percent healthy and I'm getting there. Right now I'm about 85 percent."
Shaq has some new teammates, and he is no longer playing with Kendrick Perkins, who was the key exiting piece in the trade that brought Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
"Perkins had done a lot for this city helping them get (banner) 17, and we are going to miss him," O'Neal said. "Me and him became really good friends and I congratulate him on his new deal and hopefully it all works out well for him. That is the business of basketball. I don't think there was anything personal. He is going to be missed and the guys loved him. Everybody loves him and I love him. We had great times just having conversations. He will be missed."
But, added Shaq, "The new guys look good, they look comfortable and Doc has done a good job of getting them in then getting them out. It's kind of like a new team, so there's going to be (some time) before everybody gets on and gets their rhythm going into the postseason."
CLIPPERS 108, CELTICS 103: The Celtics played their second straight bad first half, and this time it cost them. After coming back to win in Milwaukee three nights earlier, the host Celtics allowed the Clippers 60 points in the opening half Wednesday. After falling behind by as many as 23, the Celtics made it a three-point game late, but the visitors held on. Boston held Blake Griffin (12 points) pretty much in check, but Mo Williams burned them for 28 points, and DeAndre Jordan cleaned up inside for 21.
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