While the Celtics brass kept everyone relatively optimistic about Shaquille O'Neal's return, especially in the wake of the Kendrick Perkins trade to the Thunder, the now retired O'Neal is singing a different tune, claiming he told president of basketball operations Danny Ainge that he might not be ready for the playoffs and not to pull the trigger on the trade.
"I even told Danny Ainge not to do the Kendrick Perkins deal with Oklahoma City," Shaq told The New Orleans Times Picayune while in the area to be honored with a statue at Louisiana State University. "I told them I might not be ready, and I'm definitely not coming back. Those guys did what they've got to do. I wasn't surprised; I've seen it before. They say all that blah, blah, but you know it's always going to be something different."
Fans were consistently teased with news of O'Neal's progress and likely return, but he played just 5:29 of one regular-season game after Feb. 1 and a total of 12 minutes in Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Heat.
"I truly believe that if I didn't get injured, we would have beaten Miami, and we could have beaten Dallas," Shaq said. "Usually, when it's really a bad injury, you get one shot, and then feel better and play. But I got shot after shot, and I was scared to get an MRI. I knew my Achilles tendon was ripped the whole time."
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