On his weekly visit with the Toucher & Rich radio show, Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said Thursday morning it's unlikely that Avery Bradley will return at any point during the Celtics first round series against Atlanta.
"I think it's a long shot that Avery will be back in this series," Ainge said.
Bradley was carried off the floor after injuring his hamstring Saturday night during Boston's 102-101 Game 1 defeat to the Hawks. Originally, Bradley was slated to be out for the remainder of the first round, but yesterday on the same radio program, Celtics television play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman said Bradley told him that he could return sooner than expected. Ainge doesn't appear eager for Bradley's return unless he's fully healthy.
"Avery is so critical and is such a critical piece of our future," Ainge said. "I'm certainly not going to allow Avery to go out at less than 100 percent. Thank goodness Avery's injury wasn't that serious. It wasn't like a grade 3; it was closer to a grade 1 injury. I know Avery is just fighting at the bit. He would try to play under any circumstance if he could run. So I'll prevent and intervene there to keep Avery from jeopardizing himself. I'll just get in his way and make sure he doesn't make a bad decision. We'll put him through tests to make sure he's at 100 percent if that's the case."
Following an MRI, the team is still not optimistic.
#Celtics coach Brad Stevens: Avery Bradley MRI came back clean. But very unlikely to return this series.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) April 21, 2016
Even if Cs reach 2 rd, Stevens said Avery Bradley "still unlikely early in that situation, but possibly in the days that go on after that.”— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 21, 2016
Bradley is expected to be able to do "a little bit more from a practice standpoint" as the first round progresses, assuming it does progress— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 21, 2016
Ainge also touched on Kelly Olynyk's shoulder injury, Brad Stevens coaching performance to this point, and the team's confidence heading back to Boston for Game 3.
We need Kelly to space the floor. I don't know the answer [when he's returning]. Kelly is day-by-day and we really want to be careful and make sure that he's healthy.
He's very frustrated that he's not been able to play. He really wants to play. He tried to play Game 1 and just wasn't effective as he wants to be. We will play it game-by-game and see how it goes.
It's a tough tough gig right now with the guys that we have healthy. I think he's doing a fabulous job.
He's grinding. He's working and spending late hours trying to figure out even something different to how to attack this team and get some points on the board with sacrificing too much defensively.
On the team's confidence/mindset:
It's not so much confidence. I believe every guy thinks they can make shots. I would never tell you that Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart lack confidence. Those guys are warriors.
They're struggling with their shooting right now. Some of it is health and some of it is the defense of Atlanta and they're forced to take some shots with the shot clock [running] down. Some of it is trying to get on track. Sometimes, you force the issue instead of just being patient and waiting for better shots. And some of it is the spacing. It hurts all of the guys cause we aren't really getting wide open looks. I think Atlanta is doing a great job flying at our three-point shooters.
But, having said all that, I'm not worried about them. I know that they are going to come ready to play tomorrow night. I know they have the right mindset and I'm excited for the game.
Photo Credit: Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe staff
Follow Patrick on Twitter at: @PatBernadeau Patrick Bernadeau 4/21/2016 02:13:00 PM Tweet Edit