Practice notes: Shaq's unexcused absence

WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practice Monday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:


Center Shaquille O'Neal missed Monday's 90-minute session due to what Celtics coach Doc Rivers suggested was confusion about the reporting time and, while Rivers said O'Neal would not be disciplined for the mix-up, he didn't sound particularly pleased about the big man's absence on a day the team practiced with 11 players.

O'Neal joined the team in time for its afternoon flight to Cleveland in advance of Tuesday's game against the Cavaliers.

"He got the times mixed up," said Rivers. "He missed one, so he owes us one. We're good."

Rivers even kept it light when asked about potential punishment.

"No, I was going to spank him, but it might not hurt," Rivers joked. "It may hurt me."

Rivers gave his team the weekend off after Friday's 110-101 triumph over the Toronto Raptors. Players were supposed to report Monday for a noon practice followed by a 3 p.m. flight to Cleveland. Every other Celtics player -- including injured ones Kendrick Perkins, Jermaine O'Neal and Delonte West -- were present for the session.

Rivers admitted the absence was frustrating, but said he'd give Shaq the benefit of the doubt.

"Yeah [it's frustrating], but you get over it," said Rivers. "Listen, if the guy had a history of something, then you'd deal with it differently. But when the guy doesn't have a history of something -- it happens. It's life, you move on.

"It's not a big deal."

Rivers pointed out how he doesn't have set rules for any individual player and lets their history and reputation dictate how they are handled.

"If you have a history of [missing practice], we deal with it," said Rivers. "It's a human game, it always will be. I don't have a set rule for one guy or two guys. Each guy is an individual basis, is what I'm saying. You deal with it that way. You put money in the bank and, if you're a guy that tends to use up your money, then [the leash] is a little shorter."

Pressed on the specifics of the incident, Rivers ended the Shaq chatter.

"I’m not getting into all that stuff," said Rivers. "It's done, it's over. We’ve moved on. I’d like you guys to move on."


A few injury updates with the team back together for the first time since Friday night:

* West, who fractured his right wrist in Wednesday's win over the New Jersey Nets, is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning and the team expects to have a better idea of a timetable for his return following the procedure. Rivers initially said he simply wanted to have West back in time for the playoffs, while Shaquille O'Neal, while admitting he's not doctor, offered a three-month recovery time. West missed 16 games and nearly two months of activity after fracturing the same right arm in January 2009 while with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

* Jermaine O'Neal continues to rehab his sore knee at the team's practice facility. The team initially suggested he's miss 2-3 weeks, but he's entering the third week and Rivers said the backup center isn't close to getting back on the floor.

"No, he’s in town, he’s working out, and doing all the stuff he should be doing," said Rivers. "But I haven't even checked [on his status], honestly. He's not playing this week, I can tell you that."

Rivers has deferred to team trainer Ed Lacerte and said he'll simply be updated when Jermaine is close to getting back on the floor.

"I told Eddie, 'I don't really need to hear it until he's a week out,' because there's nothing I can do," said Rivers. "I want to focus on the guys on the floor."

Pressed if Jermaine O'Neal could be back before the end of the calendar year, Rivers expressed confidence.

"I’m not thinking about that, but I’m very confident of that," said Rivers.

* After missing three games because of a strained left hamstring, Rajon Rondo returned to the court Friday night against Toronto and participated fully in Monday's session. Both player and coach suggested the hamstring is no longer a concern, but the plantar fasciitis he's been battling is on the radar.

"He feels pretty good, but the foot is still the bigger issue," said Rivers. "The hamstring is fine, for the most part. But with [plantar fasciitis], you have to be diligent. We do give him rest. Today, we only had 11 guys, which sucks, it hurts your practice. It means most of your guys are on the practice floor the entire practice. That’s not the way you want to go."

Rondo admitted the feet were a bigger concern than his hamstring, but downplayed any of the ailments

"I'm fine," said Rondo. "I'm playing, so I'm healthy."

Rondo pointed to Charlotte's Gerald Wallace as one of many playing through the pain of plantar fasciitis.

"It's still there, but once my adrenaline is going, it doesn't bother me," said Rondo. "[Lacerte] does a great job of taping it. I'll be fine. It'll probably be with me throughout the season."

With a smile he added, "[Lacerte] said it will probably go away in July, once I have time to rest."

Sounds like Rondo has big plans for June.