Golden State defeated L.A. 100-99 at Oracle Arena on Thursday to force a Game 7. The victory may have cost them their veteran center, who had been called into greater action in the series following the loss of starting center Andrew Bogut to a rib injury.
With a little more than nine minutes remaining in the second quarter and the Warriors leading 28-25, O'Neal collected the ball following a Clippers possession and looked up the court. Before he could pass the ball, a bent-over Davis stumbled forward into O'Neal's lower body in an awkward, late attempt at securing the loose ball. The force of Davis's arrival bent O'Neal's leg back and hyper-extended his right knee. O'Neal's right leg buckled before he fell to the court.
O'Neal immediately left the game and did not return. He departed with two points (on 1-for-1 shooting) and three rebounds in two minutes. The Warriors announced that O'Neal has suffered a sprained right knee and that he will undergo an MRI on Friday.
Update: Following the MRI, the Warriors announced that O'Neal suffered a bone bruise in his right kneecap. He will officially be listed as "questionable" for Game 7.
The 35-year-old center said that he would give it a go in Game 7 at the Staples Center on Saturday.
"Anything short of God coming back [or] the rapture, I'll play," O'Neal said.
The injury was unfortunate, but was Davis's action intentional?
O'Neal told reporters that he felt the foul was "absolutely" unnecessary.
"Either he has terrible balance for a professional athlete or he was trying to dive towards my legs," O'Neal continued, in comments recorded by News10.net. "We'll talk. We'll talk."
Warriors big man Marreese Speights seconded the assessment.
"It was a dirty play," he said, according to the Bay Area News Group. Tension between the two Pacific Division rivals has existed for years, but there have not been any major fights or suspensions through six games of the first-round series.