Celtics

Rivers: Shaq out today vs. Magic, maybe longer

Rivers: Shaq out today vs. Magic, maybe longer

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Big Shamrock remains on the big chill for the Boston Celtics.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed to CSNNE.com that Shaquille O'Neal will not play today against the Orlando Magic due to a right Achilles injury.

He later elaborated on O'Neal's status, telling a group of reporters that O'Neal might be shut down until after the all-star break.

While it's not considered a long-term injury, there's no definitive indication as to when the 7-foot-1 center will return to the lineup.

"When you're 38 years old, every day, you're day-to-day," Rivers said.

"His Achilles is inflamed," Rivers said. "If this were a playoff game, Shaq would play, let's be honest. But it's not. We're going to need him in the playoffs and we want him to be right and healthy. This gives him a chance to get right all the other things that are ailing him."

In addition to the Achilles injury, O'Neal has missed four other games recently with a series of right leg-related injuries.

Without O'Neal, the Celtics will start Kendrick Perkins at center.

Making his first start of the season against Dallas on Friday, Perkins had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

There is a slim chance that O'Neal and the medical staff could convince Rivers to have a last-minute change of heart, similar to what happened earlier this season involving Rajon Rondo.

However, the return of Perkins gives the C's added depth to fill the void left by not having O'Neal available.

Rivers admits he has been surprised at the durability Perkins has shown just six games into the season following offseason surgery to repair a torn MCL and PCL suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June.

"I didn't expect this," Rivers admitted, adding that Perkins has had some strong games and others where he hasn't been as effective. "I think that'll last until almost the playoffs. He'll be up and down. He'll have days where, he'll have tough-moving days. We expect that."

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