Monday, October 15, 2007

Pondering the future of the Big Aristotle

As the NBA season draws nearer, one has to wonder how much Shaq Diesel has left in his proverbial “tank.” At 35, maybe he has one good run left in him considering that he will most likely be his team’s primary option until Dwyane Wade returns from injury and “hopefully” O’Neal would also not forget the bashing his Heat team took at the hands of the Chicago Bulls during their first round match up last year.

However, the O’Neal run seems to have taken a turn for the worst over the last few days. The signs are there…one just has to look.

A comment by longtime Heat beat writer Ira Winderman initially got me warmed up when he noticed that during a recent Heat loss to the Orlando Magic, that O’Neal “spent the night on (or near) the stationary bike, because, well, he could.”

Not long after, Heat coach Pat Riley (who probably at this point wishes he had not comeback after winning the title in 06’) eventually made calls for O’Neal to play in their succeeding games, which Shaquille did against the Charlotte Bobcats and played a grand total of 10 minutes and 29 seconds, all in the first quarter.

It turned out that Shaq suffered a left quadriceps contusion brought about by a freak offensive play against Bobcats big man Emeka Okafor.

Michael Wallace of the Miami Herald quotes O’Neal:

After the game, O'Neal said he didn't believe the injury was serious. He seemed more frustrated that he had another "freak injury" despite his wearing padded protection.

"The crazy thing about it is, I've got pads," O'Neal said. “I've got kneepads. I've got quad pads. I've got shin pads. And the place it's not padded, [Okafor] got me.

Man! I ranked The Daddy really high in my Yahoo! NBA Fantasy Leagues (and got him).

Here’s hoping that the O’Neal experiment does pan out.

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