16 Ocak 2008

Shaq looks 'pretty good' in short practice return

Heat center Shaquille O'Neal went through only half of Monday's practice because of tightness in his injured left hip. That means there's no assurance he'll be ready to start Wednesday and play 30 minutes - a normal workload for him - when the Chicago Bulls visit to start a seven-game homestand.

O'Neal, who returned to South Florida on Saturday night after spending five days in Los Angeles seeing a specialist to treat the bursitis in the hip, has missed the past eight games.

Coach Pat Riley said he wasn't concerned that O'Neal didn't go through the entire practice.

"We'll probably give him a little bit more (today) and by Wednesday he'll be ready to give us whatever he can give us," Riley said.

"He looked pretty good for the half-practice he was in there."

O'Neal didn't speak with reporters Monday, but guard Dwyane Wade concurred with Riley's assessment.

"His conditioning has to come back," Wade said, "but he did some explosive things, which is good.

"He was dunking the ball, getting up and down (the court). It was good to get him back in the mix, run offense with him."

Riley is hoping Wednesday to use his full nine-man rotation - starters Wade, Jason Williams, Dorell Wright, Udonis Haslem and O'Neal along with reserves Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Chris Quinn and Daequan Cook - which has been intact only twice this season.

Miami is 0-2 in those two games, a 115-89 loss at Denver on Dec. 2, and a 106-103 loss to Indiana on Dec. 15. Alonzo Mourning, out for the season with a knee injury, was in the rotation for those games and has since been replaced by Blount.

Getting its top nine players on the court consistently is a humble goal, but the Heat is 8-28 and has lost 10 in a row, so anything might help.

Monday's practice also marked the first time in more than a month that Miami had together its 13-man roster. The others on the full, 15-man roster are Mourning and guard Smush Parker, who remains inactive for disciplinary reasons.

"We at least want to go into the last 46 games confident we have our guys to go to war with every night," Wade said. "Hopefully we can do that."

kaynak : NBA