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No Shaq For Game 1

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Chris Forsberg reports:

The Boston Celtics attempted to get Shaquille O'Neal back on the practice court Saturday morning, but his ailing right Achilles tendon and strained right calf would not allow him to go through the activity.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge announced soon after that O'Neal would not be ready for Sunday's Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the New York Knicks.

"[Shaq's] been making progress and we tried to get him out there to practice today, to simulate a game as much as we could and he's not ready," Ainge said. "We don't know when he'll be ready, and we'll just keep evaluating him day to day. So he won't play in tomorrow's game."

Obviously, this isn't great news. I'm of the opinion that we need Shaq to advance deep into the playoffs, and his presence is especially necessary now that Perk is suiting up in OKC. However, it's important to note that just because Shaq is injured for Game 1 doesn't mean that he won't be healthy later. The Knicks aren't strong in the middle, so our weakness at center won't be as much as a factor (so long as JO can rotate on defense to cut off penetration, anyway.)

Let's all hope that Shaq gets healthy soon. We need you, Big Fella.