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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Pregame: Bradley closer to contact

By Chris Forsberg and Greg Payne

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, rehabbing from double shoulder surgery, suggested he's drawing closer to gaining clearance for contact, suggesting it could come within the next two weeks.

"Right now, I'm just taking it one day at a time," Bradley said. "Once [team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] says I'm able to practice, I'll be able to participate in practice. I'm still working out and I'm doing noncontact drills in practice. As of right now, I'm not doing any contact."

Pressed on when he might be able to participate in contact drills, Bradley added, "Definitely closer. Hopefully in like a week or maybe two weeks I'm able to practice and do contact."

The team has held firm to a projected mid-December return to game action, which would seem to require Bradley to be back on the floor soon for the final stages of his recovery. Coach Doc Rivers isn't sweating the matter at the moment.

"Are we going to keep talking about Avery again? I have no idea," Rivers said when asked if Bradley was getting closer to being cleared for contact. "I’ve said that -- I don't check, I don’t ask. Like I said, Eddie will let us know."

Asked if Bradley could spend time in the D-League with the Maine Red Claws to get game reps during rehab, Rivers reaffirmed that as a possibility.

"All of it is uncharted water for us," Rivers said of veterans rehabbing in the D-League. "It really depends on the timing of when he’s coming back. It could be a time when we have four days of practice in a row, which won’t happen, but something like that where he would stay. But I don’t know; it’s definitely a possibility."

Having the ability to send Bradley to Maine is an encouraging option for Rivers, who reflected on when the team wasn't a short drive up 95.

"Think of it, one time our affiliate was in Utah for a while," said Rivers, before joking, "[Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] could go to the church and watch games at the same time, and bless us all at the same time."

Turning more serious, Rivers added, "It’s changed. I hope it keeps growing, the D-League, I think it’s been great for us and all the teams who either own their teams or have that co-ownership, I think all of them have enjoyed it. I’m hoping that every team has one eventually."

The Celtics brought rookies Kris Joseph and Fab Melo back from the D-League to practice with the big-league squad on Tuesday, but they will be back with Maine in time for its next game on Friday.

A couple other pregame nuggets:

* Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, a Needham native, stopped by the Celtics locker room before Wendesday's game and snapped a photo with Rivers. The gymnast crossed paths with Rivers at the London Olympics, where Rivers served as a basketball analyst for NBC. "I actually watched very little basketball," Rivers said. "I watched the USA [basketball games], then I went to everything else. It was good. Saw some judo -- OK, let’s talk about basketball."

* Nets coach Avery Johnson is hoping some momentum will snowball after a big win over the Knicks earlier this week. "We had a pretty emotional loss in LA and it carried over to a negative effect the next night in Golden State," Johnson said. "I'm hoping that, because we had such an emotional win in our last game [against the Knicks], maybe that'll carry over. Because we're looking for anything we can get, in terms of momentum, because we're playing against a team that we've beaten already that's going to be looking to turn the table on us tonight here in Boston. So we're going to have to play extremely well and we're going to have to have a lot of energy and high-level concentration in this game tonight, and we're definitely going to have to have a high rating on defense."