Shaq returns to Heat after hip injury

Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 4:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 4:24 p.m.

MIAMI - Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal returned to practice Sunday after missing eight games with a hip injury.

Heat coach Pat Riley said O'Neal "is going to be ready for Wednesday" when the Heat play against the Chicago Bulls.

O'Neal did not participate in contact drills Sunday, but did do a lot of weight training, cardiovascular work, and completed shooting drills. He is expected to practice more Monday and Tuesday.

O'Neal flew to Los Angeles last week to receive medical treatment on his hip. He 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.

A sore left knee also has contributed to O'Neal's least productive season in his 16-year career as he is averaging 14 points and 7.8 rebounds in 29 games.

The Heat have lost 10 straight games and have the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 8-28.

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