Shaquille O'Neal is making progress in his return from a right calf strain that has held him out of the first two games of the Celtics first round series with the Knicks. O'Neal was present at Boston's morning shootaround in New York, but will not play in Game 3 on Friday night, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
"He's not ready to play yet but the fact that he's feeling better and he's closer, you just bring him on the road," Doc Rivers said. (via WEEI)
O'Neal, who suffered the calf injury against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, April 3, did not play in the Celtics' final five regular season games. He averaged 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 37 regular season games this season.
Stoudemire is suffering from back spasms, which held him out of the second half in Game 2, while Billups is still battling a strained knee that has held him out of the first two games of the series.
"We think we can get the job done, no matter what,'' said the coach [Mike D'Antoni]. "It'd be great if those guys can participate, but if not, we have to win anyway.'' (via Boston Globe)
Stoudemire scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 38 minutes against the Celtics in Game 1, but had just four points five rebounds in nearly 18 minutes in Game 2. Billups averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 assists in 21 games with New York this season.