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Wednesday, November 20
Updated: November 21, 11:02 PM ET
 
Shaq still hoping to return Friday

ESPN.com news services

SAN ANTONIO -- Shaquille O'Neal is listed as a game-time decision Friday night against the Chicago Bulls as he looks to play for the first time this season.

O'Neal
O'Neal

O'Neal will be re-evaluated by his surgeon, Dr. Robert Mohr, after Friday morning's shootaround to determine if he will be activated.

Expected to miss six-to-eight weeks after undergoing surgery on his arthitic right toe in early September, O'Neal sat out all of training camp and the Lakers' first 11 games, eight of them losses.

O'Neal received new orthotics for his shoes before Thursday's practice and worked out with the team, but the Lakers said Thursday afternoon that no decision would made on Shaq's availability until closer to tipoff.

"I'll probably get cleared tomorrow, so hopefully I can come back on Friday,'' O'Neal said before the Lakers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

"I have to see my doctor, my therapist,'' he said. "He has to take X-rays, look at the foot, take blood and all that stuff.''

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that O'Neal was already cleared to play by Dr. Robert Mohr, who performed surgery on the star center's right big toe.

Mohr "feels great about" O'Neal's recovery, the player's agent, Perry Rogers, told the newspaper, despite the soreness that lingered on the underside of the toe well into his now eight-week rehabilitation. The soreness has recently subsided, O'Neal said, as Mohr predicted it would.

Rogers said Mohr had made some final adjustments to the orthotics gear O'Neal wears, and that those devices should be ready in time for Friday's game.

"I'm not a savior," O'Neal told reporters in Dallas before Tuesday's game against the Mavericks. "However, I think I can bring their spirits back up."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.




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