Jermaine, Shaq on 1st practice

NEWPORT, R.I. -- One of the more intriguing storylines during Celtics training camp is going to be who emerges as the team's starting center given Kendrick Perkins' absence for much of the first half of the season.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers suggested last month that he'd prefer a lineup that includes Jermaine O'Neal as the starter and Shaquille O'Neal off the bench, but admitted more recently that he's open to allowing camp to dictate which of the two former All-Stars -- and Celtics newcomers -- will mesh best with the starting unit.

During Boston's first practice session of the season Tuesday at the Rodgers Recreation Center on the campus of Salve Regina University, Jermaine O'Neal took the lion's share of first-team reps in the portion of practice open to the media, but Shaq also worked with the unit.

Rivers stressed that there's no timeline for determining a starter and that process might not even be settled before the regular season tips off.

"We'll figure it out," Rivers said. "What I don't know with either guy is: How long can each sustain their play? I just don't know that. I won't even know that, maybe into the season. But we'll figure it out."

Rivers offered positive reviews on both O'Neals -- whom he's affectionately dubbed the O'Neal Brothers -- and stressed that it's impossible to glean much out of one session, particularly the first of the season. Rivers and his players know that, being veterans, it won't take much for the O'Neals to acclimate to their new surroundings.

"Believe it or not, most NBA teams run the same plays," captain Paul Pierce said with a laugh. "Except maybe Phil Jackson with the triangle [offense], but [the O'Neals] are going to bring it each night on the offensive end. Picking up the defense will take a little time, but they'll get it."

Check out the videos embedded in this post for more from Jermaine and Shaq on their first session with Boston.

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