BOSTON — Before Friday's game against Phoenix, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told Avery Bradley that his minutes would be limited.
Even with less court time than usual, Bradley showed clear signs in Boston's 87-80 loss to the Suns that his return to form may not be a long one.
Bradley, who missed the previous 13 games with a sprained ankle injury, finished with nine points on 4-for-12 shooting in 17 minutes, along with doing a solid job defensively.
"I feel fine," Bradley said after the loss. "I'm a little sore. I'll be fine tomorrow."
Bradley acknowledged he would have liked to have played more, but "I have to be smart."
He added, "The coach, he knows better than me. I have to get back into a rhythm. I was a little rusty. He has to limit my minutes and he told me before the game but I didn't know how many minutes I would play and I didn't care."
Boston point guard Rajon Rondo was pleased with what he saw from Bradley.
"He looked well," Rondo said. "For him to get out there, ... as far as the ankle and his defense looked great tonight."
As he works out the rust that comes with a long layoff, Bradley knows he can still impact games with his defense.
"That's what I tried to do," said Bradley, a member of the NBA's All-Defensive second team last season. "I know that's my role on this team."