Bradley limited as a suprise starter

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Bradley limited as a suprise starter

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. The Celtics were prepared to play without Avery Bradley.

The starting lineup sheet the C's submitted, had Leandro Barbosa in the backcourt, which is what the public address announcer read from in introducing Boston's first five on the floor.

Still, there was Bradley, who gave C's head coach Doc Rivers the word that he was playing moments before opening tip-off.

Bradley's presence didn't help much as the Celtics never led in their 103-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

The 6-foot-2 guard, who had missed the previous game due to a rib injury, had six points on 3-for-8 shooting.

More than the lack of scoring, Bradley never made the kind of impact one of the NBA's best on-the-ball defenders often does.

While the Celtics certainly appreciate the effort and his willingness to play through the pain, it was clear that he wasn't going to be the defensive difference-maker that the C's and foes have grown accustomed to seeing.

"Once I told him Rivers I was going, I just tried to go out there and compete," said Bradley who is questionable for the game at Cleveland on Tuesday.

Part of being cleared to compete involved him wearing a protective padding for those still-tender ribs.

"I had double pads on just in case I got hit while I was in the game," Bradley said.

Bradley admitted that playing with the added cushion did limit him somewhat in the game, but it was an even bigger issue mentally.

"Just knowing that it was there, the pain ... it was hard," Bradley said. "Stuff like that happens to you throughout the game. I just have to fight through it. No excuses."

Bradley's desire to play is certainly at a higher level than many primarily because he has already missed so much action this season.

He spent the first 30 games of the season recovering from surgery to both shoulders, so it only makes sense for him to be a bit anxious to get back on the court - and stay there.

But going forward, he has to balance that desire to show mental toughness and play through pain, with the prospect of not being able to help the Celtics if he's not close to full strength.

Bradley's decision to play meant Barbosa who was going to get the start, saw his playing time significantly limited. Barbosa played seven minutes on Sunday, and finished with four points and two rebounds.

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

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Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.