Shaquille O'Neal misses practice again

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal (right knee bruise) sat out his second consecutive practice session Monday and, while he traveled with the team to Detroit, coach Doc Rivers did not expect him to be available when Boston visits the Pistons on Tuesday night.

"I doubt if he plays, but we'll see," Rivers said.

Barring an overnight setback, Jermaine O'Neal (sore left knee) will return to action after missing Friday's game against the New York Knicks and should start in Shaq's place. Jermaine O'Neal went through a full practice session for the second straight day and is eager to log some extended minutes after a cocktail of injuries (hamstring, back, wrist, and knee) that has limited him since the start of training camp.

"I'm going to play whatever Doc wants me to play," said Jermaine O'Neal. "I haven't been able to get a lot of minutes in the preseason and I'm not playing a lot so far in the regular season, so I am a little itchy. But it's a long season and that's something we talk a lot about here, it's not about how you do at the beginning of the year."

"He had a good practice and he'll play," Rivers said. "Obviously, it could swell or something. But right now, he looked good."

Jermaine O'Neal said he thinks the ability to log extended minutes with the first unit could help him snap out of his season-opening funk and find a rhythm that has so far escaped him. Even when healthy, he hasn't been able to stay on the court very long, fouling out in a mere 12 minutes against Cleveland -- the same game after which his latest knee injury flared up. But he thinks he's over the hump.

"It feels that way," said O'Neal. "It's been one thing after another. It's probably the only span of my career where I've dealt with multiple issues."

As for Shaq, he spent another day in the pool, keeping his wind up by swimming alongside Kendrick Perkins and strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. That limited the wear and tear on a knee bruised during a fourth-quarter collision with Amare Stoudemire on Friday night. Shaq said he's waiting for the soreness to subside before diving back into action.

"It feels a little better," he said. "It's a little sore to push off. Once it gets to the point where I can push off with little or no pain, then I'll be ready.

"As you get older, it takes time for your body to replenish the chlorophyll. I heard that yesterday on the Planet Channel, so I just wanted to throw that out."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.