Shareef O’Neal was supposed to be in college right now, showing out as one of the stars of the UCLA Bruins. However, those plans were thrown out of whack in September, as it was announced that Shaq’s son would need to miss the entire 2018-19 campaign after a heart issue was discovered. He stayed enrolled at UCLA, but understandably, he wasn’t able to play basketball.
There are obvious pros and cons to this sort of thing. While it’s a really scary situation and it’s a shame that O’Neal lost a year of basketball, it’s good that it got caught and it’s something that won’t end his career. In fact, the problem was something that could be corrected with surgery, which happened on Thursday.
TMZ reported that O’Neal would go under the knife with his mother, Shaunie, by his side. It also kept his father from appearing on Inside the NBA on Thursday, and at the start of the evening, Ernie Johnson said everything went “perfectly.”
A little later, Shareef — with the help of Shaunie — said that he’s “on the road to recovery” in a brief statement on his Twitter account.
A timetable for Shareef’s return to the floor isn’t especially important right now, but it is really encouraging that everything went well. Still, hopefully he passes all the various check-ups that will occur in the future with flying colors, and by the time the 2019-20 season rolls around, we’ll see him on the floor for the Bruins.