Before Friday’s match-up with Philadelphia, Brad Stevens told reporters that battered shooting guard Avery Bradley is once again inactive, this time with an Achilles strain in the same foot as his bad ankle. I’m not a doctor (obviously), but it doesn’t feel like I’m out on a limb assuming that the stress of Bradley’s bad ankle repeatedly spraining has led to this latest setback.
Obviously, this has been an incredibly bad series of breaks for Bradley in a contract year. Will he even return this season? Stevens wasn’t sure.
“To be candid, it’s so out of my league,” Stevens said. “I wish that I could tell you. That’s Dr. (Brian) McKeon and (trainer) Ed Lacerte’s call. If he could play, he would play. If they gave him the okay, he’d be playing. I’m hopeful he’ll be playing as much as possible over the next seven games.”
Frankly, I’m NOT hopeful, and I don’t think the Celtics should be either. Bradley’s ankles have been consistently bad all season. Setting tanking aside for a moment, his health needs to take precedence here, especially as he looks to settle his future for the next few years. No team seems to value Bradley as highly as the Celtics, and no team besides the Celtics has seen just how frequent his injuries are becoming. Any opposing front office that wanted to make a run at Bradley would need to do a modicum of research to discover how frequently he’s out of the lineup. His value right now is as low as it has been since his breakout season in 2012. He’s not getting a big contract from Boston as things stand right now, and he’s certainly not getting one from anyone else.
The best way to heal a sprained ankle, essentially, is to avoid spraining it again. Bradley is going to need to demonstrate to any potential suitor (Boston included) that he’s reasonably healthy before anyone will want to drop a big contract in front of him, if that’s even in the cards at this point.
Above all of this, of course, hovers tanking — this year’s most annoying-but-prevalent topic. Healthy Avery Bradley is good enough to win the Celtics a couple of games, especially against the awful competition Boston faces over the last seven games. Even if his ankle improved enough to get him on the floor, the risk vs. the reward of bringing him back just seems to heavily weighted in favor of “risk” to justify seeing Bradley again in 2013-14.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.