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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Bradley eyes potential Jan. 2 return

By Chris Forsberg

Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics guard Avery Bradley (shoulders) is eyeing a Jan. 2 return to action.
BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley said he is targeting a possible return to game action on Jan. 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Bradley, who returned to full practice activities on Monday during an off-day workout in Chicago, said he still plans to travel west with the Celtics as part of a four-game road trip to close out the calendar year. But he noted that trainers are likely to keep him locked to a plan that could have him ready to return to action when Boston returns home.

"It's up to, not only to me, but the doctors and [team trainer] Ed [Lacerte]," said Bradley. "We're just going to take it day by day. They're saying January -- around the first or second -- so we're just going to see how I feel."

Later he reaffirmed: "We're hoping for the next home game after the West Coast trip." Pressed on if it might be earlier, Bradley cautioned, "Knowing Ed, he sticks to his schedule and that's what he's been saying, around January. So, we'll see. We'll see how I feel."

With Boston struggling mightily on the defensive end at the start of the 2012-13 season, some have promoted Bradley as a potential savior for the Celtics and their roller-coaster start. Bradley, a third-year guard who ascended to a starting role in the final months of the 2011-12 season, cautioned against that thinking.

"Nobody's a savior for a team," said Bradley. "We're a team. All I can do is go out there and do my role and guard the other players as hard as I can."

Is Bradley worried about increased expectations?

"No, not at all," he said. "I'm going to go out there and play hard regardless. I'll play the way I know how to play."

Bradley said he's simply excited to get back on the floor after being sidelined the past seven months since his season ended with a final left shoulder dislocation in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I can't wait until I get back. It's been a while," said Bradley. "Really, for my teammates, I know they've been waiting for me to come back, help bring that energy. And not only that, they just feel bad that I haven't been able to play since last playoffs, so I'm just excited. I can't wait until I get back on the court."