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Pregame: Rondo, Bradley return vs. Mavs

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will have their starting backcourt intact after a one-game absence as both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are expected to play Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Both Rondo (general soreness) and Bradley (ankle) sat out Friday's win over the Sacramento Kings. Rondo, in the infancy of his return to game action, experienced soreness after Wednesday's win over the Philadelphia 76ers and the team operated with extreme caution while holding him out on Friday. Rondo is expected to sit out Monday's visit to Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back.

When might Rondo be ready to play in back-to-backs?

"That’s an above-me question," said coach Brad Stevens. "Our trainers and medical staff and [Rondo will] get together and -- I would think it would be sooner rather than later, but I don’t know want to project a timeline."

The Celtics play only one other back-to-back this month (Feb. 21-22) and don't encounter another until March 11-12, when it might be less of an issue with Rondo having nearly two months of game action under his belt by that point.

Bradley twisted his right ankle in only his second game back from missing five games due to a sprain of the same ankle. Stevens said he does not expect it to be a lingering issue.

"I think he just twisted it again on Wednesday," said Stevens. "He was 100 percent when he was playing Sunday and Wednesday, then twisted it or whatever, so it’s almost like, instead of a reoccurring injury, he just injured it again. I don’t think it’s a lingering thing by any means."

Rookie Vitor Faverani (knee) is the only player that remains out for Boston. For the Mavericks, Monta Ellis was listed as a game-time decision, but was out getting up shots before the game and will play. Hop HERE to read more on Ellis.

Before Sunday's game, Stevens was asked how to successfully slow Dirk Nowitzki.

"Nobody can answer that question with a straight face," said Stevens. "Don’t know that anybody has, don’t know that anybody can. You have to mix up your matchups. You have to have different people guard him. You have to guard his pick-and-rolls differently. He presents a problem if you guard it in a traditional way, just because he’s a great shooter. He’s a great pull-up shooter and he's probably one of the best two-point long-range shooters in the league -- one of the very few guys that’s probably a great great shot for. Yeah, he’s a tough one to guard and he’s really playing at a great level right now, at whatever old he is, what is he 35 years old? He’s not showing signs of that right now."