Doc: Cautious with Shaq

Celtics coach Doc Rivers reiterated Wednesday that he would like to get center Shaquille O'Neal (right calf strain) back on the floor before the end of the regular season, but couldn't offer a definitive timetable for his return.

Making his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM), Rivers ruled Shaq out for Thursday's game against the Chicago Bulls and likely Friday's tilt against the Washington Wizards.

Asked if the 39-year-old center could join the team in Miami on Sunday, Rivers playfully said, "Maybe." He quickly added, "We're going to be very cautious with him. I would love to play him a couple games, but only if I think he's feeling great. If not, we'll just wait."

And what was Rivers thinking after O'Neal looked sharp in his return to the court Sunday before suffering the calf injury in his sixth minute against the Pistons?

"I was thinking this is good," said Rivers. "A couple more games, we can slide him back in the starting lineup, and we're off and running. That's why you don't think those thoughts."