WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics were back on the practice floor Thursday afternoon, but it might have been the two guys unable to go through the brunt of the session that were of heightened interest. Both Avery Bradley (shoulders) and Chris Wilcox (back) came onto the court to get up shots following the two-hour practice and said their recoveries are going well, even if Doc Rivers cautioned that neither is close to a return to action.
Chris Forsberg/Greg Payne/ESPN Boston
Chris Wilcox (left) and Avery Bradley (right) get up shots on Thursday.* Bradley said he engaged in conditioning exercises for the first time since undergoing double shoulder surgery and remains optimistic that he is ahead of the mid-December timeline that Rivers reaffirmed Thursday.
"I feel a lot better," said Bradley. "I didn’t think I’d be feeling as good as I do right now. Especially because I had [the right] shoulder done a little later. Right now I feel good. I started conditioning today, started lifting with the strength coach today, so I feel great. I feel like we’re moving forward, like we’re supposed to."
So what does he think of Rivers' mid-December timeline?
"That's what they have right now, but we just have to take it day-by-day, see how I’m feeling," said Bradley. "I’m ahead of schedule now, so you never know."
Bradley admitted his shot was rusty, but said he's encouraged by being able to get up shots again over the past two weeks. He's still not cleared for contact and is avoiding anything that could aggravate his shoulders.
"You don’t want any setbacks, so I try to stay away from contact," he said. "I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to be doing, like dunking the ball, even though I want to sometimes because I feel so good. I try not to have any setbacks and so far I don’t have any. I’m on the right path."
* Wilcox said he's been battling back spasms, the result of a hard hit endured on the second day of training camp. He admitted he's anxious to get back on the floor, but is taking it slow and Rivers deemed him "a ways away."
Wilcox underwent an MRI earlier this week on his injured back, and the results confirmed the spasms.
"[Tests] came back and they just told me I had to take my time," said Wilcox, whose 2011-12 season ended in March when an enlarged aorta was detected. "I'm just six months out of [heart] surgery, so I got back out here, everything was feeling so good and I missed the game so much, I'm just off here playing off of adrenaline. My body just wasn't all the way healed, but, at the end of the day, every day it's getting better for me and I'm just going to take my time."
Pressed for a timeline, Wilcox noted: "I don't know. I leave that up to the trainers, and, now, like I said, they just want me to get in shape and get back healthy so I won't have to miss any more practices or game situations."
* The Celtics appear relatively healthy beyond Bradley and Wilcox. Center Darko Milicic sported a wrap over his right hand after taking a hit in Wednesday's practice, but wasn't overly concerned.
"I'm just going to ice it down a little bit and get some medicine," said Milicic. "It's going to be fine."
* Milicic has entertained reporters with his open and honest responses (often littered with hilariously bleep-able language). For instance, asked if he enjoyed the team's trip to Europe, the Serbian said he did not enjoy the travel.
"We had to stop in [expletive] Iceland to refuel. That was terrible," said Milicic. "I mean, especially that I came from there. I lived there, so I came from there five or six days before, and then came back again. Switched those time zones two times, I mean, I don't even know what is day or night, or what day, what year. I mean, we're all tired, but especially me, kind of changing the time zones and coming back again. But, I'm adjusting right now."
* Rivers said that picking an end-of-the-game lineup isn't nearly as daunting as it seems considering Boston's current Big Three (Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett) will be on the floor. Rivers also hinted that Jeff Green would often be part of the grouping to handle the final six minutes.
"It’s not as difficult as you think, it comes down to the right two," said Rivers. "Jeff Green, and another guard or another big. It might be the right one [because] Jeff Green, for the most part, might be on the floor as well. It comes down to that fifth guy, and is it going to be another big to go big? Another guard to go small? There’s a lot of options."