From football to boxing: Bradley's unconventional road to recovery

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From football to boxing: Bradley's unconventional road to recovery

BOSTON -- A football flew across the parquet into the outstretched arms of Avery Bradley. It was an unusual sight during pregame warmups on Saturday as Bradley's teammates took jumpshots and free throws a few feet away before the Boston Celtics took on the Philadelphia 76ers.

Playing catch with a football is one of the ways the Celtics staff is breaking up the monotony of Bradley's lengthy rehabilitation from double shoulder surgery. Bradley has been sidelined since last May and will be re-evaluated in two weeks to determine if he can return to practice this month.

"It was something we do to help my arm strength," Bradley explained to CSNNE.com. "We try to make it fun at the same time. At first I wasn't sure about it. I was like, 'B.Doo (Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo), this doesn't make sense.' Once I started doing it, him throwing the ball hard and me extending, I have to do the same thing with a basketball and I have to see if I'm able to do it or not. It definitely helps. This is our second time doing it. Since it helps me out, we will probably continue doing it."

The Celtics have been creative with Bradley's routines, mixing in unconventional workouts and drills to keep him engaged. The 22-year-old guard has taken to the new methods during his recovery.

"We even do boxing," Bradley said. "They put on the gloves and I wear the pads and they punch them so I can receive them like someone's pushing my arm. At first I was boxing and then I stopped and just did the receiving because it was more important. We've been doing that for two weeks. It makes me stronger and it helps me see where I'm at at the same time. Let's say if somebodys pushing my arm, I try to get myself back to being used to those forces and resistance."

The workouts are paying off. After throwing around the football, Bradley got up for a dunk under the watchful eye of his coaches.

"I've been dunking for a while, just trying not to hang on the rim. Now I'm trying to see if I can," he said. "[Saturday] I told B. Doo, 'Watch me dunk so I can see if I can take all my weight hanging down on the rim.' I was able to hang on the rim. I kind of felt like I was at that point but I haven't been doing it because I didn't want to hurt myself. Now I know I am, so I definitely feel the progression every single day working with B. Doo and [Celtics athletic trainer] Ed [Lacerte]."

Bradley isn't making any predictions for his upcoming re-evaluation. He knows the final decision is out of his hands. In the meantime, he is doing everything he can to stay in game shape for when he is given the green light, no matter how tedious the process can be at times.

"I can't really say [what I expect to be told] because it's not up to me," he said. "I'm just going to continue working hard every day like I've been doing. It's hard for me because some of the stuff I don't want to do. I hate doing all the conditioning drills because you feel like you're in shape and it's like, 'Man, I do not feel like doing this every single day.' That's how you feel, I rather be playing than running for no reason. That's probably the hardest part for me. It's boring to me and I do it every day. I'm in good shape. Obviously when I come back, the adrenaline, I'm going to be tired, I'm going to get so excited. I know I'm going to be going so hard, but I'm going to be fine."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Suns

WATCH: Celtics vs. Suns

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Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

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Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.

Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?

No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.

Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.

As Jones and his teammates know, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.

As Jones and his teammates know, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.

After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.

"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."

But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.

One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.

"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."

Jones’ comments weren’t received well.

Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.

“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.

Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”

Yes. It’s better than lying.

Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.

People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.

Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.

But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.

He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.

Plus, it gave him motivation.

Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?

No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.

But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.

Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.

"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."

Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.

"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”

Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.

The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.

Internationally, the sport is on parade.