MIAMI - Shaquille O’Neal came off the bench Sunday night for the Miami Heat in his first action since a sprained right ankle sidelined him Nov. 3. (Click here to follow game live.)
O’Neal entered the game against the Washington Wizards with 5:55 left in the first quarter and received an enthusiastic but brief ovation. The Heat planned to play him for 18 to 24 minutes.
The Heat went 9-9 during the five weeks O’Neal was sidelined. He hurt his ankle in the second game of the season when he stepped on the foot of Indiana forward Ron Artest while going for a rebound.
The layoff was the longest for O’Neal since he missed 20 games with an abdominal strain early in the 1997-98 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat entered the season with a projected starting lineup of O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Jason Williams, Udonis Haslem and James Posey. That fivesome hasn’t been together this season.
Williams missed his fourth game of the season on Sunday with right knee tendinitis.
The Week in Sports Pictures
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.