Shaq Expected Back After Break

Glow-in-the-dark condoms, upper right, are seen in a mini-bar in a two-bedroom suite similar to the one where Anna Nicole Smith was staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. During previous visits, hotel workers said Smith arranged for massages and dined at an expensive steakhouse. This time, she spent much of the time in her room, ordering soup as she battled the flu. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal's injured right foot is healing well, and it appears he'll return to action next week.

O'Neal was examined Wednesday by Dr. Phillip Kwong, a foot specialist who said if last season's regular-season and NBA Finals MVP continues to progress well in the next few days, he'll rejoin the Lakers after the All-Star break.

O'Neal sat out his sixth straight game Wednesday night.

It's hoped O'Neal will be able to practice Monday in New Jersey, and team spokesman John Black said it's possible O'Neal will play the following night against the Nets in the opener of a six-game road trip.

O'Neal, the Western Conference's leading vote-getter for Sunday's All-Star game, will be replaced in the exhibition game by Sacramento's Vlade Divac.

Entering Wednesday night's game against Phoenix, their final action before the All-Star break, the Lakers were 3-2 since O'Neal injured his arch.


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