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Shaq will sit again

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  December 15, 2010 12:11 PM

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Shaq2.JPGNEW YORK -- Not long after the team filed into Madison Square Garden this morning, Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo sat in one of the chairs courtside along the sideline, Shaquille O’Neal sat beside him on the floor, right leg stretched out, one of those muscle massagers rolling underneath his calf.

O’Neal said a few curse words, he winced some, and then said, “I’m gonna be all right.” But he won’t play. O’Neal will sit out his third straight game resting a sore right calf, this one a much-hyped divisional game in which the Celtics put their 10-game win streak up against the Knicks and their eight-game tear.

"I’ve been ordered by Doc and B. Doo: 100 percent, don’t come back until you’re 100 percent.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers held O’Neal out of games against Philadelphia and Charlotte, giving the 38-year-old center six days rest, but he still wanted to be cautious.

“He’s just not 100 percent,” Rivers said. “And you know how we are during the regular season, we just want to get as healthy as possible and that’s when we play guys.”

Rookie center Semih Erden will start again in place of O’Neal. Erden got a taste of Madison Square Garden in the preseason, when he played 13 minutes and scored 6 points after Kevin Garnett was ejected.

“It was a preseason game and at that point Semih probably knew four words in the English language -- and none of them were words you can repeat,” Rivers said. “But games like this are great for him. Other guys have been through these games, but for Semih, it’s probably a good experience.”

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