- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger returned to practice Thursday and said he expects to be available when his team hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at TD Garden.
Sullinger suffered a bone bruise on his right knee while taking a charge in the first half of Boston's win over the Orlando Magic on Monday. He sat out Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats because of lingering soreness, but the team seemed optimistic he'd be ready Friday.
"That’s the plan, I’m going [Friday] night," said Sullinger. "It’s a bone bruise and it was just tough for me to land and jump confidently. I decided to sit the night out [Wednesday] and hopefully get another day of rest and try to get this knee back where it needs to be."
Sullinger endured the bruise when Orlando's Mo Harkless stumbled into the lane and plowed into the knee as Sullinger drew an unintentional charge call. "I had nowhere to go and he just kind of ran me over," Sullinger said.
He played nearly 15 minutes in the second half that night despite the initial pain, but the knee swelled up overnight and soreness set in. He woke up feeling stiff on Tuesday morning and the team sent him for an MRI.
"I think we just did that for precautionary reasons," he said. "We were all nervous because it’s a knee, but we just wanted to go ahead and make sure before I get cleared to play that there was no cartilage or ligament damage."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he anticipates Sullinger will suit up on Friday.
"That’s everything I’ve been told," said Stevens. "I guess you always wait until [game day], but from everything I’ve been told and everything I can gather, he was ready to go today."
The Celtics engaged in a light walk-through Thursday, so it's hard to fully gauge Sullinger's availability, but he moved fine while going through light drills.
"We didn’t do anything that would be able to tell me if he’s 100 percent or not. We just walked through," said Stevens. "We did a really, really light [practice] as far as physical workout goes. We can’t overdo it right now; we’re coming off a long stretch and we’re heading into an even more difficult stretch with regard to number of games and days."
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