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.
©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2001 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.