Celtics guard Avery Bradley has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston this season. In this edition he talks about which teammate might surprise you, describes what the Celtics are really like off the court, reveals how the team felt about no trades at the deadline and when he expects to return from his ankle injury, and recalls his funny experience with comedian Chris Rock. (--As told to Louise K . Cornetta)
I'm not playing right now because of a sprained right ankle. It's the same thing I did earlier in the season in that I just rolled it. We've been nursing my ankle so that I don't come back and re-roll it and have to start from the ground floor again. We've just been taking our time. The team has been having me sit and wait for it to get 100 percent. Friday I was out taking some warm-ups and I did the same Sunday before the Pistons game. I felt like that was progress. I hadn't touched a basketball since the injury until this past Friday. It felt like it had been forever.
The way I've been spending my days lately is I wake up and go to rehab every morning then I watch practice and after that I get on a treadmill. After that, I leave and go home for a few hours then go back to rehab. That is pretty much what I do every single day. I think for basketball players the most important muscles to keep up are the legs. While the core is important, I really feel every part of your body is important to work on. You should take care of everything. That's why players lift throughout the season to maintain that strength. You can't just focus on one part. You have to focus on everything.
Away from the court, I'm not much of a TV guy. I'll go to the movies every now and then with my fiancée. Really when I'm home, I like to relax. Being a dad now, I found my routine has changed a lot but I have it down now. We use teamwork between me, my fiancée, and her mom. We help each other out as best we can.
On game day when I'm playing, I'm not a superstitious person or anything. I don't really have a certain pregame routine. I switch things up every now and then. I'm easy on game day. I'm not someone who has to have the same meal before every game either. I change it up. Some games I may eat at home and others I eat at the arena. It just depends on how I feel.
I'm not the only Celtics player who is hurt, unfortunately. Both Vitor Faverani and Gerald Wallace had season-ending injuries. I want to mention something about Gerald. You may look at him and not realize what an awesome guy he really is. Like people say how you can never judge a book by its cover, that applies to him. Gerald is one of the nicest people I've ever met. It's the same as with Kendrick Perkins. They look all mean and stuff but they're really nice guys and that's the kind of guy Gerald is. He's not only a great teammate but he's a great leader on and off the floor. I really respect him a lot.
The trade deadline has passed since my last diary. I'd say it was a sigh of relief in our locker room that no trades were made at the deadline. It's always hard to see someone come or go. Especially with us having a young team, a lot of players haven't experienced it. It could have been hard on them and you never know how the chemistry with new people in the locker room is going to be. I'm happy no changes have been made because I feel we continue to improve as a team and it's showing.
Honestly, what I want to see out of this team in the last two months of the regular season is for us to go to the playoffs. I believe we can still make the playoffs. We aren't that far out of it. I feel like we still have a chance. More than anything, I want to see us continue to play Celtics basketball, play the right way and play hard. It's what our fans want to see and that's what I feel we should do every single night. Our fans fill our arena and that's what they deserve.
Up next we have the Pacers. They're a very good team. I can't even really give a scouting report on them because they have so many good players. We need to make everything hard on them and that's what I'd say is the key to that game. Because, for me, when I go up against a great offensive player I try to make everything hard on him. I try to take him away from his strengths. I feel that is what we have to do to them.
In the next few weeks we have a couple of back-to-back games coming up. I don't know what I'd say the hardest part of playing back-to-back games is because we're used to it by now. I'd say just being away from home is the hardest part.
I'm hoping next Friday is when I come back. We play the Suns at home. I can't wait to be back. The doctors and trainers know best. I'm taking things one day at a time in trying to get better any way I can. To prepare and be prepared to contribute on the court for my teammates is the most important thing for me. I don't want there to be any drop-off.
I always like to end the diary with a recommendation. This time I'll recommend an arena every fan should see a game at -- besides Boston Garden, of course. I'd say OKC. You should see a Thunder game there because of the atmosphere. It's pretty much like a college atmosphere a little bit as far as the fans. It's pretty cool.
This has me thinking about the last time I sat in the stands for a game. I have my own AAU team that I sponsor called Team Avery Bradley. I go and see them play every single summer. So I guess that's a time when I'm sitting in the stands. It's pretty cool but weird at the same time because being at the NBA level you look at the game differently. You notice everything and you'll see something a high school player does and think that's so stupid but it's part of learning the game.
The last time I sat in the stands for an NBA game was two years ago when we were playing Philly at home. I had shoulder surgery so I couldn't play. I was in the stands in Danny Ainge's seats. He offered the seats to me to go sit out there and I thought, "Why not?" I specifically remember this experience because all of the fans were making a big deal that Chris Rock was at the game and my seats were behind his. All the fans were asking me why I was sitting behind Chris Rock and not in the front row at your own game. I just said hello to him. He was sitting with our owner. He was pretty cool.
It was such a different experience watching the game from the stands rather than playing. The seats were right underneath the basket closest to our bench. You hear a lot of people say sitting in floor seats is a lot different experience than sitting up high. It's a big difference. You almost feel like you're a part of the game sitting on the floor.