Told prior to Wednesday’s game that injured guard Avery Bradley  feels a week or two away from returning to practice, Celtics  coach Doc Rivers  knew better than to bite on any timetables before talking to trainer Ed Lacerte.
“Thanks for telling me,” joked Rivers, who remains in daily contact with Bradley and the training staff about the status of the 22-year-old’s ailing shoulders. “I didn’t know that.”
Even Bradley backed off the two-week timeframe in case he ruins an early Christmas surprise for the Celtics.
“No timeframe,” he said. “We did at first, but we kind of got away from the timeframes, because when we were doing the timeframes, they weren’t consistent. Sometimes we would meet the timeframe and sometimes I wouldn’t be prepared when it got around the time. So, we stopped doing timeframes.”
Instead, he’s approaching recovery “day-by-day” — running, shooting, lifting, swimming — in hopes of passing Lacerte’s daily resistance tests. “I feel a lot better,” added Bradley. “I’m doing pushups now. I try to do them every single day to see how my arms feel, and I feel a lot stronger. It’s like night and day how I feel from two weeks ago.”
So, maybe one or two weeks isn’t such an unrealistic timetable after all, but the last thing Bradley or Rivers wants after this six-month-long process is for the lockdown defender to rush back and risk re-injury.
It’s going good right now,” said Bradley. “The progression is good right now. We’re getting there. I feel like we’re a lot closer right now.
“Doc kind of stays out of it. It’s really up to the trainers, and the strength and conditioning coaches, and me. We’ve got to just see how I feel every day. It’s hard for them to determine, because I’m such a tough guy and I want to get out there, but at the same time they have to put me through a lot of tests. I lie to them sometimes because I want to get back, but they’re just protecting me, and I’m going to protect myself, so that when I come back I have no setbacks.”
So, a little over a month into his third NBA season, Bradley finds himself in the same position he’s been since training camp: Rehabbing every day and waiting for word from Lacerte that he can return to contact drills.
“I’m excited about this year,” said Bradley. “I can’t wait until I get back and help my team out any way I can. It’s been very hard. Being young, and not only being young, I’ve had three surgeries already and this is my third year, so it’s been hard for me not being able to do training camp and practice. All the expectations and me not being able to really prove myself, all the stuff people say, you kind of get down on yourself, but one thing I know is if you work hard every single day, everything will work itself out.”
At least the kid’s got a good head on those surgically repaired shoulders.
“I might want to play 1-on-1 with [Rajon] Rondo — just to one — but they don’t let me,” he said. “I’ve been smart about it, and they’ve been helping me be smart about it, so we’re doing good right now. I feel a lot stronger. I feel like I felt in the past and even stronger. I’m weighing more, and I feel good right now. I feel great, actually.”