The Golden State Warriors will be without the services of center Jermaine O’Neal tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, and he may be out for a while longer.
Earlier today, O’Neal was listed as questionable on the injury report. But moments ago, head coach Mark Jackson announced that O’Neal will not be suiting up tonight,
O’Neal has been playing with a sprained right wrist for the past four weeks, and he told Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News that he will see a specialist on Thursday before making a decision on whether or not to have surgery.
“I’ve never been stabbed, but it feels like a deep stab,” he told Steward. He hopes that he can avoid surgery because at his age, that would probably end his career.
The 35-year-old veteran is averaging 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Warriors this season, backing up Andrew Bogut. He has contributed not only on the court, but also as a veteran presence in the locker room, providing help to the younger guys.
If O’Neal were to opt for surgery and miss an extended amount of time, it would surely be unfortunate for the veteran, who is still bidding for his first championship.
In a postgame interview a few weeks ago, O’Neal had this to say about what he hoped this year would entail for him and the Warriors:
Here I am in my 18th year, still trying to win that championship. I hope that we can learn, continue to build and get better, and the crazy fans at Oracle continue to give us that love that show us each an every night. I think this is going to be a special year for us.
The potential loss of O’Neal would also make the Warriors already-shortened bench even shorter. With Festus Ezeli still out after having offseason knee surgery, the Warriors’ lack of reliable big men on the bench is downright frightening. Marreese Speights, who has struggled this season, will likely see more minutes, and the recently-signed Hilton Armstrong will have to play a productive role.