PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics haven't totally ruled Avery Bradley out from returning at some point in the playoffs.
But as of now, the likelihood of him returning to the Celtics lineup is slim, at best.
A Boston Globe report indicated that Bradley runs the risk of doing further damage to the shoulder by playing, and that could potentially result in him needing surgery and up to a year to fully recover.
Bradley indicated Wednesday morning that the shoulder injuries that have sidelined him the past two games - that includes Wednesday's 82-75 Game Six loss to Philadelphia - are not showing significant improvement.
"It's definitely frustrating," Bradley said. "All I can do is keep trying to get stronger, keep improving for my team. That's all I'm gonna do."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said earlier that both Bradley and Ray Allen (ankle) have the kind of injuries that even with added rest, it won't be enough for them to make significant progress to get past their injuries.
"Ray and Avery, they're just not going to get better," Rivers said. "The rest makes no difference. It's going to come down to day-to-day, if they feel better or not."
Without Bradley, the Celtics take a major blow defensively.
There were countless plays in the Celtics' Game Six loss where the absence of Bradley on the floor, was obvious.
Knowing that there's a very good chance that he won't be back for the playoffs, puts the C's in a precarious position even if they were to win Game 7 on Saturday.
A victory would move the Celtics on to the Conference finals against either Indiana or Miami, two teams that have athletic, high-impact wing players that without Bradley, will make a tough matchup even more difficult.
Rivers maintains the team's "no excuses" mantra, even when he acknowledges how not having a player like Bradley available can impact the C's.
"It's what we have," Rivers said. "Clearly, Avery's a great defender. Their (Philadelphia) penetrations, their isolations without Avery on the floor, they clearly went to a lot of iso's, they were picking who they wanted. That's what I would do. You can't blame them for doing it."
Without Bradley, the Celtics have to revert back to some of the defensive approaches they had prior to inserting him in the starting lineup.
"We have to do a better job of covering for guys who may not be able to keep some of those in front of us," Rivers said. "I don't think we covered for each other very well. Having said that, they scored eighty-two points and that's not a lot."
True, but it's probably more than the Sixers would have scored had Bradley been healthy enough to play.
But there's no time for Boston to worry about that now, not with a decisive Game 7 on Saturday against a Philadelphia team that's coming into it with more confidence than they've had at any point in this series.
"Our mindset is 'let's see what we can do,'' Collins said. "Let's see if we can go get us a win."
Something that will be easier to come by for Philadelphia, knowing that this defenisve-minded Celtics squad, will be minus Bradley who has been one of their top defenders.