Boston C O’Neal out with tight hamstring

Boston center Jermaine O’Neal was sidelined Monday night because

of a tight left hamstring.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the club’s trainer suggested

O’Neal sit out the game against Washington. Rivers said he might be

able to play against New Jersey on Wednesday.

”It’s not bad,” Rivers said. ”With the hamstring you don’t

want to take any chances. With today and tomorrow, he might be able

to play the next game.”

The 6-foot-11 O’Neal was injured in Sunday’s win at

Washington.

Last season he was hampered by left knee and left wrist injuries

that limited him to 24 regular season games last season. He played

in each of the team’s first five games, averaging seven points and

nearly 3.8 rebounds.

Rookie center Greg Stiemsma made his first start in O’Neal’s

place.

”We’re just trying to protect him by starting him with the four

best players,” Rivers said.

Celtics reserve forward-center Chris Wilcox was back in uniform

after missing the last three games with a bruised left

shoulder.