Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday, general manager Danny Ainge told assembled reporters after the Celtics' loss to Dallas. O'Neal is expected to be sidelined from six to eight weeks and could be back playing in games by early April.
The 32-year-old center, who has seen the arthritis in his knee steadily get worse over the course of the season, had not played since Jan. 10 and has played just 17 games this season. He had scored 5.2 points and grabbed 3.8 rebounds per game.
The arthroscopy will not solve all of the problems O'Neal has been having with his knee, but the hope for the Celtics is that it will allow him to play in the postseason.
"Whenever you have arthritis in your knee and bone on bone, there's a long-term issue there," Ainge said. "This surgery was not anything to fix him long-term."
Fortunately for the Celtics, they lose O'Neal just as Kendrick Perkins appears to be rounding back into form. Perkins had a double-double in the loss to the Mavericks.
"We have plenty of big men," Ainge said. "Perk is back playing and playing well, and he seems to be handling the minutes. ... He came back sooner than we anticipated and, to be playing as well as he has, it's been a great surprise for us."