Avery Bradley returns to practice

Updated: December 17, 2012, 9:47 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, sidelined since mid-May with shoulder issues that required a pair of offseason surgeries, engaged in contact activities for the first time during the team's off-day workout on Monday in Chicago, according to the team. He participated in the full 90-minute session.

Bradley's breakout 2011-12 season ended with a final shoulder dislocation in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bradley had already been dealing with issues in both shoulders, including multiple dislocations of the left. He underwent surgery on that shoulder in late May, then had a second procedure to clean up areas of his right shoulder in July.

Bradley has been rehabbing with a mid-December return to practice in mind. He has hesitated to put a timeline on a return to game action, stressing he'll simply take it day by day once he resumes contact activities.

The Celtics have toyed with the idea of sending Bradley to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League for him to get some game reps and shake any rust from nearly seven months away from contact activities. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge previously noted Bradley might be back on the court early in the new calendar year.

Boston shuffled veteran guard Jason Terry to a reserve role this past weekend, which hinted that Bradley might be nearing his return to full practice. Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year, has started 16 of 23 games this season at shooting guard, even though he was recruited to Boston to provide a long-desired bench spark. Courtney Lee is currently the team's starting shooting guard.

If Bradley resumes his starting duties upon his return to game action, the Celtics would have the luxury of Terry and Lee off the pine moving forward.

The Celtics held an off-day practice session in Chicago on Monday afternoon in advance of Tuesday's visit to the Bulls to wrap up a three-game road trip.

Boston's defense has struggled throughout the start of the new campaign, and the team hopes the return of Bradley will aid the Celtics in resuming a more familiar brand of lock-down defense.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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