Shaq could miss Celts' West Coast trip

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal hasn't seen much improvement in his inflamed right Achilles that has caused him to miss the last five games, and coach Doc Rivers was hesitant to guarantee O'Neal will take the floor at some point during the team's four-game West Coast road trip immediately following the All-Star break.

"Shaq, honestly, it's just not healing right now," said Rivers. "We're hoping after the [All-Star] break at some point, obviously. When he first injured it we all thought it was a one- or two-game thing, and now it's been longer, and now it's getting to the point where we're not sure if he'll play on the West Coast trip or not. We're hoping he will. Right now we think he will, maybe not every game, maybe we play him every other game, but if he had to play today, I don't know if Shaq could play today."

Rookie center Semih Erden, meanwhile, has seen steady improvement in his right adductor strain and Rivers expects him to be ready for the first game of the team's West Coast trip against the Golden State Warriors next Tuesday.

"It looks like Semih will be ready when we get to Golden State, unless it turns the other way," said Rivers.

The Celtics' other injured center, Jermaine O'Neal, was spotted at the team's practice Monday in workout gear, but walked off the floor with a team official shortly before the official session began. O'Neal underwent a left knee arthroscopy on Feb. 5 and is currently in the rehabilitation process. Rivers said that O'Neal is relieved the operation is behind him and reiterated that he's still on the same 6-to-8-week timetable that general manager Danny Ainge previously set following the operation, which would peg him for a return in either late March or early April.

"He's doing great, honestly," said Rivers. "I think he feels really happy that he did the surgery. You can tell it's a race with him, because he wants to get back so he can try to help us."

Greg Payne is a student intern for ESPNBoston.com.