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Added March 30th, 2010 by Ryan

NBA Injury Update: Shaq’s Return Date Still Uncertain

It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Cleveland Cavaliers will enter the playoffs for the second straight season with the NBA’s best record, but it is still uncertain when the league leading Cavs will get their starting center back as Shaq’s return date is still yet to be determined.

Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers might still be able to reach the NBA Finals without the Big Aristotle in the paint, they definitely don’t want to be without him in the lineup if they have to face the Orlando Magic at some point in the playoffs, which is almost an absolute certainty as I really can’t see any other team in the East beating Dwight Howard and company in a seven games series.

Despite not having a return date for Shaq, an early return isn’t out of the question as his thumb injury is recovering well and getting the big fella back before the end of the NBA regular season could be possible.

The big question is whether or not to just rest Shaq for the rest of the NBA regular season and quite possibly even during the first round of the playoffs as the Cavs will be facing either the lowly Chicago Bulls or the Toronto Raptors.

Obviously, no matter who the Cavs face in the first round, pending a huge upset, Cleveland will almost certainly advance to the next round with relative ease and really don’t need Shaq as Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been added to the roster once again and Big Z will be able to at least hold his ground against either Joakim Noah or Andrea Bargnani.

So even though Shaq might be good to go, I won’t be surprised to see the Cleveland Cavaliers hold him out until they really need him to avoid anymore injuries that might keep him out when they will need him the most.

As of right now, the Cavs are in line to face the eighth seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs, but with nine games left in the NBA regular season and the Chicago Bulls just a game back of Chris Bosh and company, that Bulls could end up being the eighth seed.

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