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Heel Injury Keeps O'Neal Out of Practice

October 05, 2003|Tim Brown and Bill Plaschke

HONOLULU — Hours after he said a bruised heel would not curtail his practice schedule, Shaquille O'Neal sat out practices Friday and Saturday because of the injury he brought into training camp.

O'Neal rode a stationary bicycle through Friday night's scrimmage and was again on a fitness machine Saturday. By the conclusion of practice, as teammates played basketball, O'Neal sat in the corner, his left heel being massaged, the nail on his left big toe having been painted lime green.

Coach Phil Jackson said he was unsure when O'Neal, who spent much of the summer on a rigorous exercise plan, would return.

Asked how O'Neal was bruised, Jackson smiled and said of the player who likes to think of himself as Superman: "Jumping out of a phone booth? A big drop, I guess."

Said O'Neal's new teammate, Gary Payton: "Shaq is going to move this year, I'll make sure of it. If Shaq is lagging and not getting down the floor, I'm going to tell him, 'That's why you're not getting the ball.' If Malone gets down the floor first, he's getting it.' "

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