ATLANTA -- Jermaine O'Neal was a spectator again yesterday.
He of the attractive expiring contract in 2010 continues to be the talk of the NBA rumour mill but for the second game in a row, O'Neal was not in uniform although he was at the arena. His situation gets more curious by the day.
READY TO PLAY?
After playing 17 minutes on Friday in Indiana, O'Neal said Saturday he was looking forward to getting some consistent playing time and putting this latest injury -- a bruised knee that swelled up to alarming proportions after a four hour flight back from the west coast -- behind him.
The knee cost him nine games initially, but he also has sat out the past two, including yesterday.
The Raptors, instead of showcasing him and proving to would-be trading partners that he is healthy, are proceeding with extreme caution.
"After reviewing everything with the medical team yesterday and again this morning, it was decided that a few more days of rehabilitation, therapy and controlled court work would be best for Jermaine to have a complete and symptom-free recovery," general manger Bryan Colangelo said in a statement.
O'Neal said he would be taking part in individual workouts today in Atlanta prior to boarding a plane to Detroit and guaranteed he would be playing tomorrow night in Detroit.
The most often repeated rumour involving O'Neal has him heading to Miami for former Phoenix standout Shawn Marion and little-used point guard Marcus Banks. Heat GM Pat Riley called the deal "far from imminent."
O'Neal is aware of the rumours but has not been told he's going anywhere.