Doc sits Celts' Jermaine O'Neal for rest

BOSTON -- Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal, who has appeared in five games over the last eight days since returning from left knee surgery, was held out by coach Doc Rivers Friday night.

Nenad Krstic got the spot start against the Washington Wizards.

"I'm holding J.O. out tonight; he wanted to play, but I didn't think he should play," Rivers said. "I just want to keep him healthy. He's played a bunch of games and we play Sunday, Monday, Wednesday [next week], and he would like to play that entire week, so I thought this would be a good game for him to sit."

Rivers said everyone else -- except Shaquille O'Neal, who he had no update on, but seemed to hint was unlikely to play Sunday vs. Miami -- was available Friday night. Boston's coach hasn't decided how -- or if -- he'll rest his other veterans as the postseason nears.

"I'm not thinking about it," Rivers said. "We'll think about that when we get there ... It's game by game. We're going by what our eyes tell us, by what [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] tell us, and what [the players] tell us. Right now, they're good."

As for Jermaine O'Neal moving forward, Rivers said one tweak he will initiate when he returns Sunday is to limit the layoffs between getting him back on the floor.

"We're sitting him too long," said Rivers. "I'll try to play him the same [minutes] -- he only plays five or six minutes in a row -- but then we'll sit him five minutes and let him play again. I think that's easier for him."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.