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Celtics

Mama O’Neal Says Shaq Could Return To Celtics Next Year

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LeBron James greets Shaquille O'Neal during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James greets Shaquille O’Neal during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – After a winter of “when is Shaq coming back?,” let the summer of “will he or won’t he” begin.

Shaquille O’Neal missed the end of the season for the Boston Celtics, and only played 12 postseason minutes due to a calf and Achilles injury. The consensus in the Celtics organization is that “The Big Shamrock” will retire after 18 NBA seasons.

Shaq’s mom thinks otherwise.

“He went there to help them win a championship, and they didn’t do that this year,’’ Lucille O’Neal told the the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. “It bothered him so much that he could not play. He felt like he let the Boston team down and the community down, so I could believe he’s going back to Boston.”

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Shaq, who turned 39 in March, has a player option for 2011-12 that would pay him the veteran minimum. He averaged 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds over 37 games in the regular season before getting hurt in January.

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