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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
O'Neal hopes to play Friday vs. Bobcats

Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Shaq is ready to be back.

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said he'll know Friday if Shaquille O'Neal will return from his shoulder injury to play the Charlotte Bobcats.

O'Neal
O'Neal

O'Neal doesn't sound like he needs to wait that long.

"I'm playing," he said Wednesday night after the Cavs beat Detroit without him.

O'Neal has missed six straight games since getting hurt Nov. 12 against Miami, trying to block a dunk.

The Cavs have been cautious with O'Neal after acquiring him from Phoenix in an offseason trade in the hopes of keeping the 37-year-old center healthy for the second half of the season and playoffs.

He hoped to play against the Pistons after practicing Monday.

O'Neal has averaged 11.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1 blocks in nine games.

The Central Division-leading Cavs are 6-3 with O'Neal in the lineup and 5-1 without him.