Will Avery Bradley ever be healthy? Should the Celtics be concerned?
Lost in the excitement of Rajon Rondo's broadcast debut last night was the fact that Avery Bradley never returned to the court after halftime. The cause? The same troublesome right ankle that has forced him to miss 19 games already this season. After the game Bradley downplayed its significance, saying (via ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg):
It's just tendinitis in the Achilles. It just comes from not playing for a long period and then coming back full speed. It's been bothering me, but I've been playing through it, just getting treatment. But [Monday] it got the best of me.
The problem is, we're getting to the point where it's hard to take any injury news lightly when it comes to Bradley. Since spending much of his rookie year in the D-League and receiving DNP-CDs from Doc Rivers, Bradley has had close to three full seasons now as a regular in the Celtics' rotation. He played in 64 of 66 games in 2011-2012, just 50 in 2012-2013, and only 55 of 74 so far this year. At what point do we have to accept the possibility that maybe Bradley can't stand up to the rigors of a full NBA season?
And yes, I realize the Celtics are being cautious with him. They're not trying to win games, so any chance they have to give a guy extra rest is an added bonus (case in point: Rajon Rondo the color commentator).
However, Bradley is about to become a restricted free-agent. He wants to do everything he can to drive his contract value up. The fact that he's still unable to go is a little disconcerting. And yes, it may be good for Boston in the long run because it could lower the offers of potential suitors; but do the C's really want to lock up a guy long-term as their starting shooting guard who can't stay on the floor?