MIAMI (AP) -Heat center Shaquille O'Neal is likely to play Wednesday against the Bulls after practicing Tuesday as he attempts to come back from a hip injury that has sidelined him for eight games.
Coach Pat Riley said he will ``surely, probably'' have O'Neal in the starting lineup. The Heat have lost 10 consecutive games and their 8-28 record is the worst in the Eastern Conference.
O'Neal bruised his left hip Dec. 22 when he dived for a loose ball and slid into the scorer's table during a win over Utah. He aggravated the injury Dec. 26 against Philadelphia and has not played since.
``I think his explosion has looked good the last two days,'' guard Dwyane Wade said. ``The main thing is to stay healthy as he continues to go through practices and games.''
A sore left knee has also contributed to the least productive season in O'Neal's 16-year career. He is averaging 13.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.
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