WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- Boston Celtics rookie Avery Bradley is walking again after undergoing a scope on his injured left ankle last month and has been working at the team's practice facility in Waltham each day trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible.
"I'm just trying to recover," said Bradley, the Texas guard selected at No. 19 in this year's draft. "I'm doing rehab, lifting weights, trying to get back as fast as possible. It's been real good. I'm able to walk now. I'm getting better every single day."
The 19-year-old Bradley, the son of a retired military man, joined Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca and president Rich Gotham Thursday morning in West Roxbury for the dedication of the 45th Fisher House, which provides free temporary lodging for the families of veterans and wounded military personnel as they undergo medical treatment and rehabilitation.
He admitted it's been a frustrating summer enduring the first real injury of his basketball career. Bradley sprained his left ankle working out for the Oklahoma City Thunder in mid-June and that might have contributed to him sliding to the Celtics on draft day. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on July 2, the same day he inked his rookie deal with Boston.
"It's real frustrating, just the injury itself," said Bradley. "I've never been injured before, so having to sit out and not being able to play [in the summer league] was hard for me."
Bradley doesn't think he's necessarily behind because he missed Boston's five-game slate in Orlando, but admits he missed "getting a feel for the NBA game." He's watching extra film to learn the team's offensive and defensive sets, and has been picking the brains of veterans Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen, who he's seen a lot of while working out in Waltham.
Bradley said he's had limited discussions with coach Doc Rivers, mainly chatting on draft night, and hasn't been informed of what exactly his role will be in his rookie season. But he's eager to please.
"They haven't really told me [about my role]," Bradley said. "I'm just here and I'm ready to help the Celtics any way I can."
He's already picked up on the team's close bond and thinks that's a big reason why they'll contend for a title again during the 2010-11 season.
"The people on our team, it's like a family," Bradley said. "And they are winners. They've been winning for the last few years, so that's always good. I'm happy to be part of an organization that knows how to win."
Bradley is still getting settled in the area. He joked that everyone forgets the little stuff like getting an apartment, but he said Boston is his home now. He's still looking for friendly advice on what to do in the region, noting he's only been to the mall. But a healthy ankle should increase his ability to roam.
"I don't know the area all that well," he admitted. "But I'll get out."
The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 11.6 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game last season at Texas while being named to the Big 12 All-Freshmen team. As a senior at Findlay Prep in Nevada, Bradley guided the school to a 33-0 record and was named ESPN Rise's national player of the year. He was also ranked the No. 1 high school prospect in the country by ESPNU (ahead of the likes of John Wall).
The Celtics peg Bradley as a potential backup to point guard Rajon Rondo and like multiple areas of his game, particularly his defense.
"I like his speed," Rivers said on draft night. "He has unbelievable speed. He has a good in-between game. He can make the spot-up jump shots. He's an NBA defender right now. He can play point guard defense on anybody in the league and that's huge for us.
"But he has to learn the position. He has to learn how to be a point guard. So with Rondo in front of him, he'll be a good teacher."
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.