Shouldering the load without Bradley
May, 24, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Celtics appear to be bracing for the potential that -- whether they extend their season or not during Saturday's Game 7 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia 76ers -- the team might be without the services of shooting guard Avery Bradley for the rest of the postseason.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/GettyCeltics guard Avery Bradley remains out due to shoulder issues.
Both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe, citing sources, reported Thursday that Bradley will definitely need left shoulder surgery, which could come soon and end his season. None of that should come as a surprise. Bradley has endured three dislocations of his left shoulder since the start of the postseason, including two in this series. He sat out Games 5 and 6 and head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged Wednesday that he was uncertain when -- or if -- Bradley would play again.
For his part, Bradley met with reporters during Wednesday's shootaround and offered a pessimistic outlook, saying he wouldn't play in Game 6 and was left simply trying to strengthen the shoulder moving forward.
"It’s definitely frustrating, but all I can do is keep trying to get stronger, keep trying to improve for my team," said Bradley. "That’s what I’m going to do."
Asked about his availability for a potential Game 7, Bradley said simply, "I’m just taking it day-by-day."
After Wednesday's loss, Rivers suggested the team couldn't lament not having Bradley on the floor.
"Listen, it's what we have, you know what I mean?" Rivers said after the Game 6 loss. "Clearly Avery's a great defender, but he's not out there, so I can't worry about it. I really can't. I understand what you're saying -- their penetration, their (isolations) without Avery on the floor -- clearly, they went to a lot of isos and they were picking who they wanted. But that's what I would do. You can't blame them for doing it."
Rivers did keep a sense of humor about the situation.
"(Sixers coach) Doug (Collins) and I are close, (so) I'm going to give him a call and say, 'Listen, none of that.' That would be terrific," Rivers joked of stopping the isolations against susceptible defenders. "Listen, we just have to do a better job of covering for guys who may not be able to keep some of those in front of us. I didn't think we covered for each other very well. Having said that, they scored 82 points, so that's not a lot."