Despite the Suns' 13-28 start, the 34-year-old center -- who signed a one-year deal this past summer -- had seemingly been a model citizen (6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game) both on the court and in the locker room this season.
That all changed following the team's practice, when it was reported that the 16-year veteran would be unavailable for Wednesday night's game against the Sacramento Kings.
Originally, O'Neal was said to have had an unstated medical issue, one that interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said required the reserve to visit the doctor.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, however, O'Neal wasn't suffering from any illness at all, outside of maybe some sore lungs.
Wojnarowski reported that O'Neal and general manager Lance Blanks got into an R-rated shouting match Monday.
But in the battle of he said vs. he said, it appears O'Neal, via Twitter, wanted to have the final word.
People should be ashamed of there selves for reporting things to the public that are absolutely not true!smdh!— Jermaine O'Neal (@jermaineoneal) January 23, 2013
Altercation? False! Argument about a coaching change or coaching hire? Even more false! That's is not my position or job to determine that!— Jermaine O'Neal (@jermaineoneal) January 23, 2013
In addition to trying to clear up the matter, O'Neal, being the elder statesman that he is, attempted to take responsibility for former head coach Alvin Gentry's departure, while also giving Hunter his vote of confidence.
Coach gentry will be missed but its also apart of the business in sports! We all had hands in on the 13-28 start not just the coach!— Jermaine O'Neal (@jermaineoneal) January 23, 2013
But coach hunter is our coach now and we fully support him!— Jermaine O'Neal (@jermaineoneal) January 23, 2013
And finally, the veteran center mentioned that "unstated medical condition", but didn't go into too much detail.
By the way I had a health scare today, so yall say a prayer for a brother! Results of the scare will be back tomorrow! #fingerscrossed#— Jermaine O'Neal (@jermaineoneal) January 23, 2013