Pregame notes: Shaq closer to return

March, 4, 2011
3/04/11
7:11
PM ET


BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors that Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles) had lobbied to play this weekend, but Rivers suggested it's more likely that both O'Neal and Delonte West (sprained right ankle) will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Delonte is day-to-day, but I doubt he’ll play this weekend," said Rivers, who takes his troops to Milwaukee for a Sunday night battle with the Bucks. The Celtics enjoy two days of rest before the Clippers visit.

"Shaq actually wants to play on Sunday, but I think he needs more practice time, so he’ll probably play next Wednesday -- if nothing happens in practice, and I'm scared to say that now that our shootarounds been so grueling."

O'Neal, who has sat out the last 11 games and hasn't been on the floor since Feb. 1, participated in skeleton drills before Thursday's practice, but will likely need additional full-contact action before Rivers is confident to put him back out.

West has missed 51 games this season, including the last two after rolling his right ankle during skeleton drills in an informal practice with Boston's trade acquisitions on Sunday.

A couple other quick pregame notes:

* Newly acquired Sasha Pavlovic is on the active roster for Friday's game and, after another crash course in Boston's philosophies Friday morning, he's ready to dive in.

"Whatever coach asks me todo, I'm going to try and do my best," said Pavlovic.

Rivers said it was more likely the team will lean on Von Wafer first if they need a perimeter player off the bench early.

* With Celtics top reserve Glen Davis sidelined due to a strained patella tendon in his left knee, expect heightened activity for Jeff Green and Troy Murphy at the power forward spot. Rivers said he won't increase Kevin Garnett's minutes and will also lean on Chris Johnson at times.

* Rivers said that Johnson, signed out of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract at last Thursday's trade deadline, is likely to get another 10-day deal with Boston when that original deal expires on Saturday.

"I don’t know, but I think we will," said Rivers. "He hasn’t played much, but in that Denver game, I thought he was terrific. If we can figure out a way to get him on [Big] Baby’s weight program, he’d be terrific."

* Harvard's Jeremy Lin is inactive for Friday's homecoming game, but Brookline High product Jeff Adrien is active. So is newly acquired Al Thornton after being bought out by the Washington Wizards.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
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OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9