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Report: Shaq to return to Celtics by April 1. No fooling.


Boston just needs to get everyone back and healthy for the playoffs, then everything will be just fine. That’s the mantra, so say it with me. Everyone back and healthy for the playoffs.

But they could use to get their big men back a little before that. Just to remember what everybody looks like, work on the chemistry and defensive rotations a little. That kind of fun.

Looks like they are in luck — Shaquille O’Neal plans to be back by April 1, according to Peter May at Shaq has been out since Feb. 1 with an Achilles injury as well as assortment of other bumps and bruises.

A team source on Wednesday said that O’Neal is mending and on schedule for a return by April 1. That would give him two weeks to get reacquainted with the teammates he left -- and acquainted with the five new teammates with whom he has yet to play.

Shaq would be the starter, his backup would be Jermaine O’Neal, who also is expecting to be back with the team just before April 1, GM Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald.

Jermaine has been able to run for three weeks now without swelling in the knee, which is a good sign.

If Boston gets their big men back, they should have the last couple weeks of the season — plus a likely very winnable first round matchup — to get all the issues worked out for when the games get very difficult I the second round.