Shaquille O'Neal has played five minutes of basketball since February, so forgive Boston Celtics' fans for being skeptical that The Big Inactive could be ready to bang against the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. But speaking to WEEI in Boston, Celtics president Danny Ainge said that while Shaq isn't ready just yet, the team is hopeful he can hit the floor against Miami.
"We're still hopeful that he'll be ready to play but it's just taking longer to heal, or taking a while to heal. Shaq was determined to play Game 1 of the first playoff series and it's just not been that way. He could probably go out and something but I'm not sure he could help much."
Ainge followed up to say that Shaq couldn't give 12 minutes of productive play right now, which is pretty telling, given that 12 minutes is a pretty low minutes total. Whether Shaq will be needed is questionable, given Miami's lack of a scoring center and the presence of defensive-minded Jermaine O'Neal. The C's do lack scoring at center, and Shaq remains efficient in short spurts. But this battle between the Celtics and Heat will not be won or lost on account of Shaq.