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Thursday, January 11, 2007
Shaq practices for first time in two months

Associated Press

Shaquille O'Neal

SAN FRANCISCO -- Shaquille O'Neal practiced Thursday for the first time since tearing cartilage in his left knee Nov. 12, and forwards Antoine Walker and James Posey also rejoined the Miami Heat.

Walker and Posey were placed on the inactive list Jan. 3 for failing to meet conditioning guidelines.

The Heat are midway through a six-game trip. Walker and Posey will be available for Friday night's game at Golden State, but O'Neal will not play, the team said.

O'Neal has missed the past 28 games and played in only four games this season. He earlier said he would likely need about four or five practices before he would play.

O'Neal had surgery Nov. 19 and was then projected to be sidelined until at least late December.

Walker and Posey have missed the past four games. They were deactivated by coach Pat Riley the day he began an indefinite leave of absence to undergo knee and hip surgery.

The injury-plagued defending NBA champions are 15-19 and third in the Southeast Division, but they're 2-1 on their trip under interim coach Ron Rothstein. After facing the Warriors, they play Saturday at Utah and Monday at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rothstein said his starting lineup will remain unchanged Friday, meaning Walker and Posey would come off the bench.