PHILADELPHIA - The Celtics are not expecting to have Avery Bradley for the rest of the playoffs because of a left shoulder injury, a source close to the shooting guard said Wednesday. Asked for a percentage about Bradley having played his final game this season, the source said in the “high 90s.’’
The source said it’s “highly likely’’ Bradley’s left shoulder would pop out again - it has popped out twice in the series against the 76ers - and playing would put him at risk of “serious structural damage.’’
Bradley has missed the past two games with soreness in both shoulders. The Celtics brass, along with Bradley’s representatives, appear close to deciding to sit him for the remainder of the playoffs. Coach Doc Rivers called Bradley’s injury “day to day,’’ but said he was not sure when he would return.
“He’s looking at surgery in the face,’’ the source said, adding that if Bradley did further damage to the shoulder, he could take a year to recover.
Bradley has been a critical part of the Celtics’ defense and took over as the team’s starting shooting guard in April. The second-year guard has been the team’s most improved player and turned into a potential franchise cornerstone after an injury-plagued rookie season.
Ray Allen started his second straight game in place of Bradley. Allen has been struggling with an ankle injury, which caused him to miss the final 11 games of the regular season and the opening two playoff games against Atlanta. Allen had 9 points and six fouls in 26 minutes.
“With the other guys, rest is important; with Ray and Avery, they’re just not going to get better,’’ Rivers said before Wednesday’s game. “It just comes down to day to day.
“With Ray, during games, you monitor it. If he’s on the floor and moving well, you keep him out there, and if he’s not, you take him off the floor. Obviously, not having Avery makes that more difficult.’’
Rivers on Allen’s movement: “I think it’s simple. All you have to do is watch the game. He can’t get away. Reggie Miller at 38 spaced himself on the floor with his movement. You see now, the guy’s standing right next to [Allen].
“But he still has a huge value for us. We keep showing Ray to keep his spirits up. Right now, you can’t get shots, you can’t get away, but Brandon [Bass] got a bunch of layups because you were on the same side he was rolling. They’re not going to leave you, because one thing he can still do is make an open shot.
“Obviously, you see him missing free throws, losing his balance, that’s when you know. Shooters have balance, and Ray may be the most balanced shooter you’ve ever seen.
“And when you see him losing his balance on the free throw line, you know his foot’s bothering him.’’
Allen acknowledged aggravating his ankle in the third quarter of Game 5.
“Yeah, I rolled it,’’ he said. “It’s good now. I’m glad I took myself out when I did, gave it a chance to calm down.
“I believe I’m a tough person, I believe my body’s tough, so you go through these things, you’ve just got to test it out.’’
A daily grind
Rivers on the Celtics’ mentality in the postseason: “One thing about our team, the way we’re constructed, going into the playoffs, they knew every game was going to be a grind game, every series was going to be a nasty series. I think that helped knowing that, instead of being surprised by it. I think that’s been the one good thing. They understood it the Atlanta series, we talked about it. They understand, so it’s going to be every night. This is how it’s going to be.’’ . . . Rivers on Kevin Garnett’s comment about the Sixers crowd being “fair-weather fans’’: “I have no reaction. I don’t think either fan base likes each other, anyway, so I don’t think it added to it. Somebody asked me that yesterday and I said, ‘What, are they going to hate us more?’ You know? So what’s the difference?’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.