|Posted by shawn cassidy on December 24, 2012 at 6:25 AM|
While Bradley had said last week that he's targeting a Jan. 2 return to action, Rivers wouldn't rule out the possibility that his return could come sooner -- as early as Tuesday's Christmas battle with the Nets -- if Bradley gains medical clearance.
"I think there’s a chance [he'll play on the upcoming trip], but I don’t know what the chances are," Rivers said. "I haven’t talked to anybody. The fact that he went through, again, today’s practice great ... I don’t know, I just try to stay out of that. Because he’s close and I don’t want anyone feeling like I’m pressuring them -- Avery or, more importantly, the doctors. Because Avery wants to play. I guarantee he wants to play the next game. But that’s something that I try to stay away from."
Rivers was asked if Bradley appeared game ready from what he'd seen in practice.
"He could play, there’s no doubt," Rivers said. "He’s ready to play. I don’t know about the healing part of it. Does it take those extra two weeks? He had two surgeries, and I think that’s what we forget. The first surgery was on one day, the second one was a lot later. And that’s the shoulder that still needs to heal. Now, if you can go through a practice, the way we’ve gone, especially today, can he play in a game? He might be able to. But maybe it’s still too early. I don’t know the answer."
As for what Bradley has shown on the floor, Rivers noted, "It’s just too early. I think he’s just trying to catch his wind right now. I don’t see anything except for I see Avery being a great defender right now."
Bradley closed Sunday's practice working as point guard with the second unit. The Celtics could ease him back into the rotation by bringing him off the bench when he returns to game action, then making the swap with Terry once comfortable.
I would love to see Bradley against the damn Nets on Christmas day. Rondo first of all needs to wake up by Christmas day. He needs to focus against the Nets. I would love to see him have a big game against them. But Bradley would be a nice boost on Tuesday if he comes back.
I don't want Bradley back because the Celtics are in need of something. I want him back if he's able to play without setting himself back.