The Celtics biggest issues over the past several weeks has been their health and subsequent depth. Both seem to be improving rapidly. First, Glen Davis returned from a knee injury last weekend and then, Delonte West came back from an ankle problem on Wednesday night against Indiana. Now, it appears Shaquille O'Neal may well be the next injured Celtic to retake the floor.
O'Neal, sidelined since Feb. 4, with an Achilled injury, will accompany the C's on their three-game road trip that begins on Friday night in Houston for a game with the Rockets at 8:30 p.m. EDT, on Comcast Sports Net New England. O'Neal will not play against the Rockets, but he will practice with the Celts in the hopes of getting on the floor either Saturday night in New Orleans or Monday against the Knicks in New York.
"I'll be back even if I have to shoot it up," Shaq told the Boston Globe. "It's getting real close. I'm going to practice here in the next couple days and see if I can get back."
With Davis, West and Jeff Green leading the Celts reserves in Wednesday's 92-80 win over the Pacers, the bench scoring was 39-24 in favor of Boston. Green put up 19 points in 26 minutes and Paul Pierce broke out of a mini slump in that one, scoring 20 points in 27 minutes. It was just the second time in six games that the C's broke the 90-point threshold. The Celts (48-18), who sit one half game out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, will be looking to avenge a 108-102 loss to the Rockets at TD Garden on Jan. 10. The road team has won the last six games between these two teams.
Two of Houston's starters that night, guard Aaron Brooks and forward Shane Battier, have since been traded, while big man Luis Scola, the Rockets leading rebounder and second leading scorer, has missed their last four games with a left knee injury and will remain out indefinitely. Houston (35-34) is led by guard Kevin Martin and his 22.3 points per game. The Rockets are currently on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture, two games behind eighth place Memphis.