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Shaquille O’Neal returns to practice

According to the Associated Press, Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal took part in practice on Thursday. O’Neal has been out since February 25th with a thumb injury, which he suffered in the first half of a game against the Celtics. The Cavaliers have gone 14-2 in his absence, but have benefited from a favorable schedule.

Coach Mike Brown says that he isn’t counting on Shaq returning to the lineup before the playoffs, but one would have to imagine that the Cavs would want O’Neal to get some time in real games before they stick him back into the starting lineup during the playoffs. The Cavaliers’ magic number to clinch the best record in the NBA is currently two. If the Cavs managed to clinch home-court advantage with a few games left on the schedule, it could be a great opportunity to get Shaq some time in games that don’t have any impact on playoff seeding or a potential home-court advantage.