O'Neal returned after missing 27 games due to his Achilles
Privately, he wanted to start, but kept it to himself. O'Neal missed games throughout the season due to an assortment of ailments to his right leg including knee, calf, hip, and Achilles injuries. The Celtics traded away center Kendrick Perkins in February partially due to the expectation that O'Neal would return to fill Perkins' role. The Celtics were 33–10 in games Perkins had missed during the year due to injury, and they were 19–3 in games that O'Neal played over 20 minutes. After requesting a cortisone shot, O'Neal returned April 3 after missing 27 games due to his Achilles; he played only five minutes due to a strained right calf. It was the last regular season game he would play that year.