Suns center Jermaine O’Neal was surprised to hear that he’s been sick the last couple days.

The 34-year-old hasn’t practiced since injuring his calf Wednesday against the Wizards, but had also been dealing with flu-like symptoms, according to interim coach Lindsey Hunter.

In reality, O’Neal’s calf does hurt, but the rest of him feels great.

“I wasn’t sick,” O’Neal said Sunday. “Even a couple guys on the team asked me that.”

His supposed illness may have evaporated in the blink of an eye, but his calf strain isn’t being so cooperative. Sunday he ran on a treadmill for the first time since suffering the injury, but wants to at least practice fully before returning to action.

With the end of the season looming, O’Neal doesn’t wants to ensure he’s healthy entering the summer.

“I’m going to play as soon as I can play,” O’Neal said. “If it was the stretch run, playoff run, you’d look at it a little bit different. But it’s toward the end of the season for us, and it’s very important for me to end things correctly and not look injured or be injured or make things worse out on the court when it’s not really a playoff run.”

O’Neal has averaged 8.1 points in 18.1 minutes for the Suns this season as a reserve, but has also missed 22 games. His absence Sunday meant the Suns were left with one true center active in Hamed Haddadi.

However, ten of those absences were for family reasons – his daughter’s heart surgery earlier this month and his aunt’s death in November.

“I’ve had probably one of the most healthy seasons I’ve had in the last four or five years,” O’Neal said. “So you want to be able to piggyback off that going into the summer and not go into the summer with any type of injury.”