Bradley, who broke into the starting line up over Ray Allen last season has not played since the Eastern Conference Semifinals in May and after a long rehabilitation is in the final stages of his return to game time action. 24 hours after completing a full contact 90 minute session with the team Bradley is said to have no lingering soreness in either shoulder and will join the team on its upcoming Western Conference road trip, all be it unlikely to play that early.
In what would test out the healthiest of shoulders, Bradley said the first knock he took was on a screen from Kevin Garnett during a scrimmage. After completing the entire session Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge must be cautiously optimistic that they can soon return the defensive specialist Bradley to the line up which has been uncharacteristically struggling defensively.
The coaching staff had discussed with Bradley the possibility of using a D-League stint to improve his game fitness prior to his NBA return, while the idea has not been dismissed completely the fact he is travelling with the team rather than joining the D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws would point to the team not pursuing this route. Instead, Avery will continue to train with the team,and aim to return by the end of the year or very early in the start of 2013.
While Bradley himself cannot be relied upon to completely change the fortunes of the inconsistent Celtics, his return should have a domino effect throughout the team. He would seemingly return to the starting line up as soon as physically possible due to his chemistry with back court partner Rajon Rondo, as well as allowing both Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to form a strong back court coming off the bench with the second unit.
The Celtics have been struggling to maintain opposing guards on dribble penetration, Bradley is one of the best on ball defenders on the league and his energy on the defensive end could be the spark to lift the sometimes lackadaisical effort of the Celtics Defense.
Boston closed out last season on a 14-4 run once Bradley replaced Ray Allen in the starting line up, and the Celtics must be hoping that with #0′s return, he will have a similar impact on the team, through his on court play and by bringing a boost to the morale of a team that seems fatigued and at times, unfocused.
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