Avery Bradley made it through practice today with no complications according to Celtics PR, which means the third-year guard is on track to return to action for his first game of the 2012-13 season Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. Doc Rivers indicated the team would waste no time inserting him back into the starting lineup, when asked before today’s practice. (h/t: Chris Forsberg at ESPNBoston:)
“If he looks ready to start, he’ll start, he’s a starter. But if he doesn’t, we’ll wait,” Doc explained. “And also, right now, with Rondo and his hip, we don’t even know what Rondo’s going to do. We know we’re not going to practice him today, and not sure if he’ll play tomorrow. That takes on a whole different bit.”
Rivers emphasized Bradley’s importance to the starting lineup later in the reporter scrum:
“Avery’s going to start. Avery is a starter. We had him marked down, not penciled down before the year, that he was going to be a starter and JET was going to come off the bench. And we haven’t been able to do that yet this year. It also gives Avery a chance to, we’ll sub him out early in games, and bring him back in when Rondo comes off the floor, it gives JET a chance to be on the floor, 100 percent of the time with another guard that can handle the ball and set him up. In that way, I’m hoping that helps.”
Bradley also spoke with reporters on his return before going through practice and relayed what he expects of himself while he’s back on the floor, as well as his emotions:
“I’m very excited. My teammates are excited, I’m excited. I’m pretty sure the fans are excited. We’re just going to go out there and play Celtic basketball tomorrow.”
“No, not really. At first I was as I started to get closer and closer. But now I’ve just been trying to prepare, just focusing more than anything, not getting antsy. Just knowing my dates and where I need to be, when I touched those dates, and that’s been my main focus right now.”
There has been a lot put on Bradley and the impact of his potential return, but it’s good to see the whispers aren’t getting into his head about the weight of his own play on the team’s performance.
“I try not to worry about it,” Bradley explained. “Like I said, all you can do is go out there and play hard and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s all I know, that’s how I play. So, just go out there and leave everything out on the floor and tomorrow that’s what you guys will see.”
The other major news tidbit of the day from practice involved the status of Rajon Rondo, as the team may not have their top starting point guard unified Wednesday night as Rondo remains questionable with a sore right hip. The point guard missed practice according to the C’s PR staff and will be a game-time decision heading into tomorrow night. Rajon spoke on the obvious effect the injury had on his play Sunday night against the Kings, when he managed to score a mere two points, while being sorely outplayed by Sacramento’s backcourt:
“You know when you get beat down the court by a big, you know, it’s frustrating. But, I’m OK. I’ll be fine. It’s nothing like I need surgery or anything. It’s not that serious. It’s just a bruise. It’s just a bruise,” Rondo said.
The team obviously needs Rajon on the floor to help snap the current three-game losing streak, but it will be a balancing act for Doc and the training staff to judge the need for rest against playing an injury that can’t get worse:
“It’s not anything he can further injure, but we always look at two things, and that’s one. The other one is if it limits him, how quick is he going to get healthy by not playing. You know what I mean? If someone says if you don’t play for three days, you’ll get healthier; or if you play or don’t and it doesn’t matter, it’s just going to take a week or so, then you play. That’s what we’ll decide by tomorrow,” Doc explained.
Stay tuned to CH for more on Rondo’s status as we approach tomorrow night.