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Bright Side for Boston: Kendrick Perkins, Celtics May Benefit from Shaq Injury

BOSTON - JUNE 10:  Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Four of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 10, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics won 96-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Zachary StanleyCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2011

It came as no surprise when Shaq went out again Friday night against the Jazz with a hip injury.

God knows if the Diesel falling on ice earlier this week had anything to do with it. How can you not crack a smile while envisioning such a thing?

This is something the Celtics organization and its fans had to be prepared for when acquiring Shaq. It is amazing that the overwhelming mass has made it this far. At his age, these injuries can only be assumed to increase, and they have.

News quickly came that Shaq would not travel with the Celtics for Saturday's game against Washington and may miss several contests due to the injury. Jermaine O'Neal also out indefinitely and has chosen four weeks of rehab instead of surgery. Hopefully he will be able to contribute a body down the road. 

Shaq's nagging injuries will likely persist, and the best thing the Celtics can do is ensure the health of their veterans heading into the playoffs (and they will).

With Shaq out, the Celtics are once again short at the position. Glen Davis and Semih Erden will be called on to fill the gap while Kevin Garnett will likely feel the need to step it up a notch. 

Soon—hopefully—a large extent of the Celtics big-man problem will be solved. Kendrick Perkins should make his first impact on the 2010-11 season on Feb. 4 against the Mavericks.

Before the season even started, Perkins laid claim on his starting center position upon his return from injury. Shaq has made several statements about his position on the team as a "consultant" instead of a "CEO," but Perkins hasn't hesitated to make his expectations known.

With Shaq possibly out past Perkins' expected return date, there will be no speculation as to how quickly Perkins is plugged back into the Celtics offense.

Shaq's absence will leave less pressure on Perkins to regain his status and may consequently lead to less disruption for the Celtics as a whole. The Celtics will have some chemistry work to do upon Perkins' return, and they will now be able to put a greater emphasis on meshing rather than worrying about the timeshare between Perkins and Shaq.

If Perkins hits his stride, the questions about whether he should should start will be put in the back burner for good (as if they shouldn't already be there). Shaq will have to adjust to a bench role, which he doesn't seem to have any issue with; the bigger issue will be the bench adjusting to him.

The Celtics are surely excited for Perkins' return. If he is any bit the player he was a year ago, Boston will look as strong and deep as ever. 

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