posted on Nov, 1 2004 @ 05:50 PM
MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal missed most of Miami's practice Monday because of a strained left hamstring, sparking concerns that the 11-time All-Star
center may not be ready for Wednesday's season opener at New Jersey.
O'Neal missed three preseason games because of the injury, and sat out practices on Friday and Saturday. The Heat did not practice Sunday, and O'Neal
was expected to be ready for Monday's workout.
Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said O'Neal participated in some defensive drills, but wasn't on the floor for 5-on-5 work.
"We thought we'd have him back full today, and we didn't," Van Gundy said. "It's a concern from the sense that obviously his health is the biggest
thing, and the second thing is we haven't practiced with him in a long, long time. That obviously, in terms of our offense, affects what we're
O'Neal, acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in an offseason trade, was not made available to reporters.
Van Gundy said he did not know if O'Neal would practice Tuesday or miss any early season games.
"I don't have any way of knowing about that," Van Gundy said. "I know his expectation is he'll be ready to play."
Miami must place three players on the injured list by 6 p.m. Monday to pare its active roster down to 12.
O'Neal missed 15 games in each of the past three seasons with foot and leg injuries. He strained the hamstring during a practice session more than two