O’Neal needs surgery
Wrist fractured against Knicks
WALTHAM — Jermaine O’Neal played much of the playoffs with a fractured left wrist that will require surgery, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said yesterday.
O’Neal tore cartilage in the wrist in a preseason game against the Raptors, then wore a brace when he was on the floor. He aggravated the injury in Game 2 of the Knicks series while taking a charge from Amar’e Stoudemire.
“Jermaine endured a lot this year,’’ Ainge said. “Jermaine needs some pretty serious surgery on his left wrist. Jermaine is lefthanded and most people don’t know this. He dunks and finishes and drives and everything with his left hand. He blocked shots and was still able to do that with his left hand, but the first game of the playoffs his left wrist was seriously hurt, fractured. He needs surgery and there will probably be pins put in his wrist.’’
O’Neal, who signed a two-year deal last summer for the midlevel exception, missed 58 games this season. His left knee bothered him all season, and after taking six weeks to rest it, he opted for arthroscopic surgery in January.
When he returned in April, he fit in as a defender and shot blocker, providing sporadic offensive sparks, such as his 12-point effort off the bench in Game 1 of the Knicks series. But by the final game of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Heat, he could be seen on the floor by the bench trying to stretch his sore back.
Big picture Glen Davis will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Ainge said the fourth-year forward’s postseason struggles will not weigh heavily in evaluating his worth.
“I think there’s a lot of mistakes made with players that play well in a playoff series and players that play poorly in a playoff series,’’ Ainge said. “I’ve seen a lot of teams make mistakes over the years based on that kind of performance. So, we’ll take his whole career here with us in consideration as we determine what sort of price he’ll demand and what is fair. And he’ll definitely look at the market and see what’s out there for him.’’
Davis averaged 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds as the first player off the bench during the regular season, but disappeared in the playoffs (4.9 points, 3.6 rebounds), saying he needed to “find himself.’’ Ainge said the team wants to bring him back.
“Glen has earned the right to be a unrestricted free agent,’’ Ainge said. “We like Glen. We don’t look at this last month where I don’t think he played as well as he’s capable of playing. I think he’d be the first one to admit that. But we’ll have to look at the whole package of what Glen has given to us as a player and all the good things he’s given us and all the big shots he’s made and the big plays that he’s made.’’
Prepared for anything If there is a lockout, teams will be in a holding pattern over the offseason, with everything from free agency to summer league in limbo.
Talks between owners and the players’ union have rekindled in recent weeks, and commissioner David Stern is set to meet with union chief Billy Hunter next week in New York.
“When we learn what the new rules will be and we learn what kind of money we have to spend and what sort of things we can and can’t do, we’ll be prepared,’’ Ainge said. “We’ll be preparing for lots of different scenarios and following collective bargaining conversations, even now hoping that nothing happens and we just go as is or move forward on July 1. But we’ll be prepared for anything.’’
Owners are asking players to reduce their share of the league’s basketball-related revenue they receive, which currently stands at 57 percent. Owners also want a hard salary cap and salary rollbacks of $800 million. A lockout would be the first since 1998.
Frank a finalist Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank is among three finalists for the Rockets’ head coaching job, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I know Lawrence is interviewing for head coaching opportunities, and he should be hired as a head coach,’’ Ainge said. “My guess is that he’ll be hired as a head coach somewhere.’’ Celtics great Kevin McHale and Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey are the other finalists, according to the report . . . Ray Allen has a player option for next season, and although Ainge has been talking about the future as if Allen will be a part of the team, he isn’t assuming Allen will pick up the option . . . Rajon Rondo will not need surgery on his dislocated left elbow. He will benefit as much as any Celtic from an extended vacation after averaging a career-high 37.2 minutes this season. During the regular season, he was bothered by hamstring issues, an ankle injury, and plantar fasciitis. By the end of the playoff run, he was also dealing with shoulder and back issues.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.