Bradley recovering, shooting for mid-December return

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Bradley recovering, shooting for mid-December return

BOSTON Before the preseason finale on Sunday against the Sixers, Avery Bradley stood behind the three-point line in front of the Celtics bench and took shots.

Shot. Swish. Shot. Swish. Shot. Swish.

It may not seem like a big deal, but for the third-year guard recovering from not one, but two offseason shoulder surgeries, it's a big step in the right direction.

Bradley has been taking shots every other day for three weeks and can feel the improvement from when he started. He's getting back to where he was prior to the surgeries and the basketball-less summer that followed.

"My legs are starting to get tired because I'm not used to working out doing those hard work outs, but I'm getting there," Bradley said. "My condition is up, I'm in the gym twice a day. I'm trying to do everything I can to come back stronger."

Bradley weighs in at 192 pounds the most he's weighed ever. The problem, though, is that it's not muscle. Bradley says the medication he was previously on made him lose his appetite (he weighed around 180 pounds at one point). Now off the meds, he's back to eating again, and starting to build muscle tone.

"Eating right, working out every day Now I've been eating a lot better and I feel a lot better. I feel a lot stronger. I felt weak during the summer; I couldn't do anything."

Bradley says the team is still aiming for a mid-December return. While he's cleared to shoot, he's not cleared for contact and hasn't done any weightlifting. Building up arm strength is the next step.

"I can't put any weight on my shoulders right now," he said, admitting that lifting dumbbells was too much.

Bradley had come into his own alongside Rajon Rondo in the second half of last season. The improvement in his game was a major factor in the decision to bring Ray Allen off the bench. Even when Bradley initially separated his shoulder, it was hard for him to sit out.

"The adrenaline, and not only that but not wanting to let your teammates down there was a mix of that that's why I kept playing," he said. "But it hurt really bad. It got to the point where I couldn't do it anymore because you just pull one of my shoulders, just pull it out."

Now, the shoulders are on the mend and Bradley is eager to get back on the court with his teammates. His role upon return is yet to be determined, but it's not something he's worried about.

"It's up to Doc, It doesn't matter to me," he said. "I just have to be ready for my team. If I'm starting, I'm starting. If I'm not, I'm not. I just have to be prepared for what Doc wants me to do, and I'm going to. Like I tell everybody, I'm going to come back stronger than last year."

Until then, the Celtics will benefit from being extremely deep at the guard position. The competition is fierce, and watching it unfold from the sideline is obviously frustrating. But Bradley is keeping a positive attitude about it.

"It's definitely hard not being able to start the season out with your teammates and show them what you've worked on during the summer. I didn't have a chance to do those things. So it was hard for me but I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason so I think that maybe this helps me get stronger."

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

BOSTON – The last 2 1/2 games for the Celtics have come without Isaiah Thomas (right hip) and it has certainly been a factor in Boston trailing Cleveland 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals heading into tonight’s must-win for the Celtics to keep their season alive.
 
There have been rumors that if the series with Cleveland were closer, maybe that would lead to a return to the floor for Thomas.
 
“No. No way. He’s done [this season],” Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s "Toucher & Rich" show this morning.
 
Ainge said there’s still swelling in the hip, and it probably won’t go down enough for doctors to make a determination whether surgery is needed for another couple weeks.

Thomas was in New York City earlier this week visiting a hip specialist. He's expected to consult with at least two more before making a decision as to what's the best course of treatment.
 
“Everybody agrees if there’s anything that needs to be done to it surgically, it helps...if the inflammation goes down,” Ainge said. “The recovery [time] would be quicker.”
 
The injury initially occurred on March 15 against Minnesota.
 
Ainge said he didn’t become too concerned about it until after Thomas re-aggravated it in Game 6 of the second-round series against Washington and was questionable to play in Game 7.
 
“I was worried going into the Cleveland series that he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2,” Ainge said. “And Game 2 in the second quarter it was clear he was in a lot of pain. No way we could go out and allow him to play the second half.”
 
Boston was blown out 130-86 in Game 2. In the first half, Thomas had two points and six assists, while missing all six of his shots from the field.
 
Ainge said there was “a lot” of irritation and inflammation around the affected joint in Thomas' right hip.
 
“It had gotten worse from the MRIs he had before,” said Ainge, who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”
 

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
 
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
 
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
 
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
 
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
 
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
 
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
 
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
 
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.