Celtics

No knee surgery for Jermaine O'Neal

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No knee surgery for Jermaine O'Neal

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The decision has been made.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, confirmed an earlier report from Comcast SportsNet's Greg Dickerson that Jermaine O'Neal will not have surgery on his left knee.

Instead, the C's will shut O'Neal down for the next four weeks, and then look to bring him back in the fold.

Ainge, O'Neal and the C's medical staff discussed all the different options at halftime of Boston's 86-82 win over Detroit.

"The surgery he was considering, was just a cleaning out," Ainge said. "There's no ligament or cartilage damage that was going to be repaired. It was a cleaning-out process. We decided against that."

Had they opted for the surgery, Ainge said O'Neal would have been looking at being out for about two months.

Even after four weeks of rest, that doesn't necessarily mean O'Neal immediately returns to the Celtics playing rotation.

Kendrick Perkins will be back in the rotation by then.

If Shaquille O'Neal stays healthy, there is a chance that Jermaine O'Neal can return to a Celtics squad that, in many ways, has moved on without him.

Still, the Celtics have proven all season that there really is no such thing as having too many big men.

The Celtics still don't know how much they'll get out of Perkins when he returns. Shaquille O'Neal, who had his first double-double with the Celtics on Wednesday with 12 points and 12 rebounds, has had his share of bumps and bruises, which is what you expect from the oldest player in the NBA. Even the C's young bigs, like rookie Semih Erden, has been hit with the injury bug.

"We're going to need all these guys to get through the year and the playoffs," Ainge said.

When Jermaine O'Neal does return, Ainge added that he will not have a minutes restriction.

His conditioning, maybe more than anything else, will dictate how much he can play.

"When you're out with a bad knee, it's tough to condition basketball-wise," Ainge said. "He was on the treadmill, the non-bearing weight treadmills and in the swimming pool and a lot of things like that. Jermaine has a plan to get himself in great shape and build the strength up so he can withstand the rigors of playing the last couple months of basketball."

O'Neal went to New York to get a second opinion.

But before that, it appeared as though he was leaning toward not having the surgery and instead, going with the plan that he and the Celtics agreed to on Wednesday.

"It's almost a shock to the system," O'Neal said. "There is a chance that you may not come back. There's a chance that it might not go as well as you want it to go. A lot of different things can happen when you go through surgery. At the end of the day, you have to live with the decision you make. To me, it's all about playing. I just want to play; I just want to help."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics drop back-to-back games

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics drop back-to-back games

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Kyrie Irving’s struggles, not having Gordon Hayward, and the Celtics losing for the 2nd time in as many nights.

6:31 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the message delivered by Hayward to the fans before the game, what was going on with Kyrie’s shot, and why they failed in stopping The Greek Freak.

10:33 - Albert Breer joins BST to preview the Falcons/Patriots Sunday night game and if Atlanta is in the middle of a Super Bowl hangover.

15:40 - In a new game called On The Clock, each person gets 40 seconds to rant on their selected subject including if Red Sox fans can root for the Yankees if the playoffs and how painful the Bruins season will be. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics 'don’t have time for square one' moving on without Hayward

Celtics 'don’t have time for square one' moving on without Hayward

BOSTON – When Kyrie Irving asked Cleveland to trade him this summer, he did so in part to be more of a navigator when it comes to charting out the rest of his basketball career.

But he knows for him to achieve the kind of individual and team success that he wants, he can’t do it alone.

And that maybe more than anything else, is why Irving has struggled in these first two games as far as shooting the ball.

In Boston’s first two games – both losses – Irving has averaged 19.5 points, 4.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds. Those are decent numbers but pale in comparison to what the 25-year-old has been able to do most of his NBA career.

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And while the team is committed to moving on and focus on winning the next game, there’s no getting around the emotional tug they all feel towards Hayward.

“You can throw as many emotions in there as you want, man,” Irving said. “We know how much G (Gordon Hayward) meant to this team and means to this team. Without him on the floor creating those opportunities we were going over in practice, and we saw in preseason and in the first game, that’s a big void to fill. When you think of it in that aspect, of course you want to be frustrated and disappointed. I’m pretty sure that’s not what G wants. So, for us, you just have to continue to exude confidence in the young guys and be ready to step up to the plate. It’s going to be even higher expectations on our guys in this locker room now to try and fill that hole that G (Hayward) left for us. As one of the leaders on this team, it’s my job to pick us up, as well as with Brad and the team with all the guys. We have to look each other in the eyes and know what to expect every single night.”

That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you consider how quickly things changed for the Celtics at least in the short term with Hayward’s energy.

“I just … as you can see its’ not an ideal situation,” Irving said. “So, as cliché as it is, everybody is probably going to say that’s life. But it is, man. [expletive] happens. Excuse my language. But it does, man. The individual that we have in Gordon, he’s very special. He’s going to fight like hell to get back on the floor. I know he’s already … there’s a fire burning inside of him. You see the amount of support he got. That should tell you the type of person he is. Not only to the Boston Celtics but to the rest of the league. We want him to get back healthy but we all understand that his health comes first. He’s going to do everything possible to get back on the floor and it’s our job to lift him up.”

Irving was asked whether the team would need to go back to Square One due to Hayward’s injury which will keep him out indefinite at this point.

“No. We don’t have time for square one,” Irving said. “I can tell you that right now. We don’t have time to go back to square one. It’s time to just figure it out, moment to moment, and we’ll be alright. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be in some situations that test your character and this is one of those times.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE