Inside the NBA co-host Ernie Johnson announced that O'Neal had underwent hip replacement surgery during his live coverage of the NCAA Tournament over the weekend, as noted by Awful Announcing editor Ken Fan. The four-time NBA champion gave a shoutout to Johnson and fellow TNT Sports colleague Candace Parker, claiming he was watching their broadcast from the hospital.
O'Neal is the only Inside the NBA host absent from TNT Sports' NCAA Tournament coverage, with Johnson anchoring alongside Parker, former Villanova head coach Jay Wright and veteran broadcaster Seth Davis in from Warner Brothers Discovery Studios in Atlanta, while Charles Barkley and Kenny 'The Jet' Smith have contributed alongside veteran sports anchor Greg Gumbel from CBS Broadcast Center in New York.
O'Neal nor TNT Sports have addressed when he's officially expected to make his television return, but the legendary center said he would "be back April 16" while addressing his upcoming surgery and recovery on an episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq last month.
“I’m going to try and lose 30 pounds and I’m going to try and get an eight-pack," O'Neal said. "Right now I got a little five-pack.”