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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Shaq & the elderly: Pizza, bingo and square dancing

By Chris Forsberg

AP Photo/Elise AmendolaShaquille O'Neal celebrated his 39th birthday Sunday.
After turning 39 earlier this week, Shaquille O'Neal's next stunt will, maybe appropriately, involve the elderly.

Appearing on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM), O'Neal said Thursday that he will visit an elderly complex in the North End on Monday night after residents wrote him a letter asking him to come hang out.

"I get a lot of fan mail and an elderly person wants me to come by their place and hang out with them," said O'Neal. "I accepted, so I think I'll be doing that -- having dinner with the elderly. I don't call them elderly, I'm having dinner with friends. I'm going to eat pizza, play bingo, and do some square dancing."

O'Neal, who's dropped 15 pounds while rehabbing from right foot injuries that have sidelined him since Feb. 1, quickly clarified on the pizza he'll bring.

"I'm bringing low-fat pizza, of course," he said.

Turning more serious, O'Neal said he couldn't offer a timeline on his potential return to action, but said he's been told by Celtics coach Doc Rivers and the training staff to wait until he's 100 percent. After pegging himself at 85 percent on Monday's birthday visit to the Boston Children's Museum, O'Neal playfully deemed himself 84.2271156442222 percent Thursday.

"I can't give you a date because there's a little pain fluctuation," said O'Neal. "I've been told by Doc, [trainer] Ed Lacerte, and Doc Hollywood [team physician] Brian McKeon to not even come talk until I'm 100 percent. I'm working out, shooting, doing light stuff. When the pain is gone, they told me to add three days [then he'll be back.]"