Friday, January 31, 2014
Bradley on pace for Sunday return
By Chris Forsberg
Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley participated in most of Friday's practice and remains on pace to return to game action on Sunday against the Orlando Magic.
Bradley sprained his right ankle after planting awkwardly on defense during a loss in Miami on Jan. 21 and has sat out the last five games.
“Right now, I feel like it’s full-range," Bradley said of the injured ankle. "It could change tomorrow, I just got to take it day-by-day, see how it feels and push it to its limits. Right now it feels good, I just have to continue to get treatment so I’m ready for Sunday."
Said Celtics coach Brad Stevens: "[Bradley] was good. He was solid. He sat out the last 10 or 15 minutes, but from what I heard, it should be good moving forward."
Bradley's injury occurred in only Rajon Rondo's third game back from a torn ACL. Boston has rarely had its starting backcourt paired together over the past two seasons (Bradley missed the first 30 games of the 2012-13 season due to shoulder surgeries), but both Bradley and Rondo are excited about reestablishing their chemistry.
"He’s a great point guard," said Bradley. "I’m pretty sure everyone on this team loves playing with him. I just can’t wait until I get back on the court with him."
Said Rondo: "It's always exciting to play with Avery. He’s a great competitor. He’s going to compete every possession on the floor. He always accepts the challenge. ... We have great chemistry. We’ve played together for a couple years, especially when he was inserted into the starting lineup [at the end of the 2011-12 season]. He knows how to get the ball. He knows when to cut. So we have a good feel for each other."
How long will it take to find that chemistry again?
"It comes back pretty quickly," said Rondo. "I know his game. He knows mine."
Added Stevens: "They’ve had [chemistry] before. I think Rajon is still feeling his way back, and still isn’t full-go, obviously, because he’s not playing back-to-backs. And Avery has been out now a couple weeks. It seems like when one is playing, the other goes out, the better part of the last year and a half, right? They haven’t played together a ton. Hopefully we can string some games together where they are together and playing well and really create some confidence moving forward."
Bradley said having nearly two weeks off has allowed him to heal some other lingering bumps and bruises, like a sprain in his hand. But it's been tough watching his team struggle without being able to help.
"It’s tough to not be on the court, especially seeing that we haven’t been fortunate enough to win games," said Bradley. "It’s hard to watch, but times like this just help me work on watching film, and stuff like that. Being able to pick the coaches’ brain and my teammates’ as well, so I feel like it everything happens for a reason."
Bradley's impending return comes at a good time as Gerald Wallace, who has filled his spot at shooting guard, left the team Friday due to a death in his family. Wallace is a game-time decision for Sunday.
Brian Robb, an ESPN Boston correspondent, contributed to this report from Waltham.