Ankle injury forcing Bradley to be cautious in return

Ankle injury forcing Bradley to be cautious in return
February 27, 2014, 12:00 pm
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BOSTON — Within minutes of entering the Boston Celtics locker room, Avery Bradley was off to the trainer's room for another round of treatments on his sprained ankle.

This latest setback is the latest installment in what has been the ongoing narrative of Bradley's NBA career, one in which the hard-working guard has a tendency to push his body past its limits which far too often has resulted in injuries, missed games and in Bradley's mind, missed opportunities to help the Celtics win games.

"It's been very frustrating, to not be able to be there with my team," said Bradley who has missed seven straight and 13 of the last 16 games with the injury. "Especially on a tough West coast trip."

The Celtics won 115-104 on Wednesday night over the Atlanta Hawks, a victory which snapped a five-game losing skid which included four winless games out West.

Bradley, who is dealing with a re-aggravated ankle sprain, did not accompany the Celtics out West.

"Watching the games has been tough," he said.

For Bradley, having to sit out with an injury has been the kind of annual routine he would prefer to pass on.

When the Celtics drafted him with the 19th overall pick, he would have likely been selected earlier if not for an ankle injury suffered during a workout in Oklahoma City that forced him to be unable to work out for the final month leading up to the draft.

He played sporadically as a rookie, appearing in just 31 games. However, he appeared to have found his stride as a second-year pro, eventually replacing Ray Allen as the team's starting shooting guard and laying the groundwork for being one of the game's best on-the-ball defenders.

The injury bug struck again with injuries to both shoulders suffered during the 2012 playoffs which ended with the Celtics losing to eventual champion Miami Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.

Bradley underwent season-ending surgery which led to him missing games at the start of the 2012-2013 season.

And here he is once again shelved due to an injury.

"Having another setback, another year ... it's been hard on me," Bradley admitted. "But all I can do is try to get healthy and try to get better as soon as possible."

But there is a strong sense that the Celtics will be even more cautious than usual in terms of bringing Bradley back to the court.

Bradley suffered a right ankle sprain that kept him sidelined for five games. Upon his return, he was still experiencing some soreness and has since been shut down from playing in Boston's last seven games, and 13 of their last 16.

Because the injury was re-aggravated last time, look for the Celtics to be more patient than usual in terms of Bradley's healing time.

"We don't want it irritating any more and go back to where I started from," Bradley said. "We're just taking our time and letting everything calm down."

During that time, there are moments when Bradley plays the 'why me?' game.

"Of course but at the same time," Bradley says, "I play so hard, I know that injuries like this happen sometimes. Twisting your ankle, that's part of the game. I'm not really worried about it. I know that nothing's broke, so I'm fine. All I have to do is get better so I can help this team."