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O'Neal ponders wrist options

3/2/2012

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal is pondering options on his injured left wrist.BOSTON -- Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal remains out of action while pondering his options regarding an ailing left wrist, according to coach Doc Rivers.

O'Neal, who visited a hand specialist earlier this week after aggravating the wrist injury before the All-Star break, is pondering options that will impact whether he's able to get back on the floor this season.

"I just think he’s thinking through his options," said Rivers. "He’s going to have to have surgery, it looks like, at some point. We gotta figure out if he can get through [the season] or not. We’re just going to wait and see what he decides... I think he’s probably still going to look at a couple more doctors, just to get other opinions."

Rivers waited a beat before quipping, "I won't be one of them."

O'Neal originally injured his left wrist while taking a charge in a preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at the start of the 2010 season. He aggravated it in the postseason against the New York Knicks last year, but elected to not pursue offseason surgery, feeling it might jeopardize his ability to get back on the court this season. O'Neal also appeared to tweak the injury earlier this season, but the latest aggravation seems to have forced the issue of surgery.

O'Neal could elect to get a cortisone shot and see if that alleviates the pain enough to grind through the remainder of the 2011-12 campaign. Or he can go under the knife, but there's no guarantee he'd be able to get back in time to help this team again.

"You can play with [the injury], it’s been done," said Rivers. "You can also have surgery on it. He’s just going to have to make a decision, whether [the cortisone shot] works or not, there’s going to be pain involved."

Pressed on O'Neal's options, Rivers joked again, "You guys really think I'm a doctor? This is getting crazy today."