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We're Talkin' About Practice for Jermaine O'Neal

Bruno's latest Caught in the Web spreads more optimism for a return to action by Jermaine O'Neal. During the Charlotte game on Wednesday, Stacy Paetz reported on J.O.'s workout with the team during their shootaround, which for the Pacers is a like a regular practice. He played with the team for about 10 minutes and went full speed for 5 minutes.

Apparently, he survived Wednesday's test and was back for more today. With two workouts in a row, is a return next week possible?

Those two small but significant steps taken in stride, it's clear Jermaine O'Neal is on the way back to the active roster, possibly as soon as next week.

"We want to try to put together at least a string of practices ... and then kind of see where we're at right there," O'Neal said. "Every day is very, very important for me considering there's only 13 or 14 games left. I think the goal would be to try to get at least the last 10 games and just build from the games. I think three or four more practices, which would be up to Sunday or Monday, then we can really evaluate whether I can start playing next week or whenever."
The nice thing about adding J.O. at this time is that he's not needed at the offensive end. His conditioning will keep him from any dominating performances even if the knee is better than ever. But, having 7 anchoring the middle on defense would be huge right now and with the Nets and Pacers set to play two games next week that should be plenty of incentive to activate Jermaine if he's ready to go.