WALTHAM Avery Bradley was among the 15 players at the Celtics' morning shoot-around on Monday.
But how much he participated, if at all, is very uncertain. So is his status for tonight's Game 5 matchup against Philadelphia.
C's coach Doc Rivers held Bradley (left shoulder) out of the team's practice on Sunday, and isn't expected to make a decision on whether the 6-foot-2 defensive specialist will play until shortly before tonight's tip-off.
Bradley's left shoulder came out of the socket in Boston's Game 4 loss, but almost immediately popped back into place, which is the third or fourth time that has happened in recent months.
Despite playing with the left shoulder injury most of this season, Bradley has only missed two games.
His presence goes far beyond statistical measurements.
In little-to-no time, Bradley has evolved into the team's top perimeter, on-the-ball defender. Despite being 6-2, he has shown the versatility to defend players presumably smaller and faster, as well as those with more size and length.
"Defensively, he's been very effective," Rivers said. "But offensively, he's been on and off. They (Philadelphia) are absolutely making him score; they're sagging the paint. They understand what's going on with his shoulder, too."
Even with the pain that to some degree has been a problem all season, Bradley has managed to deal with it well enough to where he can still be a key player in the Celtics defense.
"Listen, it's a tough thing he's going through," Rivers said on Sunday. "A lot of players would not be playing. It's his first playoff, and he's dealing with stuff . . . it's tough. I swear, a lot of people would not be playing. The only reason he is, is because he wants to."
However Rivers is concerned that Bradley's desire to compete, as strong as it might be, still might not be enough to keep him from having to miss a game at some point in the postseason -- possibly tonight.
"I am concerned at some point that he may not be able to (play) anymore," Rivers said. "We don't know what game that is. We don't know what day he can finish it, and we can keep going and play. Maybe (Game 5) may be his last game. You really don't know."