MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -The reeling Miami Heat won't get Shaquille O'Neal back for at least a week while he receives treatment for a hip injury that has sidelined him for six games.
Coach Pat Riley said after Tuesday morning's shootaround that O'Neal is still in Los Angeles, but they are encouraged by the treatment there and ``hope he'll be back by next week.''
O'Neal bruised his left hip on Dec. 22 against Utah while diving for a loose ball and crashing into the scorer's table. The injury flared up on Dec. 26 against Philadelphia.
Miami has lost seven in a row to fall to 8-26, the worst record in the Eastern Conference, heading into Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While injuries have resulted in the worst statistical season of O'Neal's 16-year career - 14 points and 7.8 rebounds per game - the Heat sorely miss his presence in the paint on both ends of the court.
The once-proud defensive team hasn't given up fewer than 94 points in a game since Dec. 17, and opponents have shot better than 50 percent in four of the past 10 games.
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