Sunday , Dec , 11 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Shaq returns from ankle injury

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Miami center Shaquille O’Neal returned to the
court for the first time since November 3 during the Heat’s 104-101 overtime
victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

The center entered the game with 5:55 remaining in the first period to a
standing ovation at AmericanAirlines Arena. He scored 10 points, including the
game-tying free throw at the end of regulation, and grabbed 11 rebounds in 23
minutes of action. O’Neal ended the game 6-of-16 at the free throw line and 2-
of-7 from the field.

O’Neal sprained his right ankle when he stepped on Indiana Pacers forward
Ron Artest’s foot while going up for a rebound during the second game of
the season.

The 18 contests were the most games O’Neal missed since he was held out of 20
games with an abdominal strain during the 1997-98 season with the Los Angeles
Lakers.

Miami went an inconsistent 9-9 without its big man, relying on guard Dwyane
Wade for most of its scoring in O’Neal’s absence.

After Miami’s offseason spending spree that included the signings of James
Posey, Antoine Walker and Jason Williams, the Heat were expected to have a
proven All-Star at every position.

However, injuries have plagued the team during the first half of the 2005-06
campaign, with Posey, O’Neal and Williams missing time with various ailments.

MIA