Bradley (shoulders) thinks he could return ahead of schedule

Bradley (shoulders) thinks he could return ahead of schedule
October 3, 2012, 5:17 pm
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ISTANBUL -- Avery Bradley still has no idea exactly when he'll be re-joining his Celtics teammates on the floor. But the progress he's making is undeniable, with the latest improvement being his ability to start shooting the ball -- something he said he had avoided prior to arriving in Turkey.

"I feel great," said Bradley, who is recovering from surgery on both shoulders and has not yet been cleared for contact.

"A lot of working, but I have to continue to get my shoulder stronger."

C's coach Doc Rivers said it'll be eight more weeks before he starts to concern himself with Bradley's return.

But Bradley is optimistic he'll be back sooner.

"I'm young and the healing process has been going well," Bradley said. "I've been listening to the doctors. So I definitely think I can be back early."

Bradley, who has yet to participate in a normal training camp either because of injuries or last year's lockout, has been patient throughout his recovery.

But now that he knows it is near, he acknowledges the waiting game is a lot tougher.

"Sitting on the sidelines watching my teammates . . . It's what I have to do," Bradley said. "It's a slow process. I gotta take my time, let my shoulder heal."

Bradley has said before that his left shoulder was initially in worse shape than the right one. But both, Bradley noted, are healing at about the same rate now.

The biggest issue for Bradley now is to strengthen both shoulders which would allow him to return to the floor and resume his role as an elite on-the-ball defender.

After having had to miss significant time due to injuries in two of his three NBA seasons, he's looking to put this particular injury bug behind him for good.

"When I come back, I know I'm going to be stronger so it doesn't happen again," said Bradley, who appeared in a team-high 64 regular season games last season. "I know if I rush myself, I'm not looking out for myself or for them."