MILWAUKEE — Avery Bradley made an admission Monday before the Celtics took on the Bucks: He rushed himself back from his badly sprained right ankle and now he’s paying the price.
Bradley will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the damage to the ankle. Bradley was laboring during Sunday night’s 102-91 loss to the Mavericks, scoring 5 points in 19 minutes after missing Friday night’s game against the Kings to rest the ankle.
He originally sprained the ankle in the early moments of the Celtics’ loss to the Heat Jan. 21 and missed five games. He returned Feb. 2 against the Magic, and played two games before sitting out Friday. He acknowledged the ankle never has fully healed.
“I was just trying to play through the pain,” said Bradley, who has dealt with injuries throughout his four years in Boston. “But obviously it’s affecting me so I am just going to take a break. I’m not concerned at all. It’s just nagging. It’s frustrating.”
Bradley has been trying to stay on the court to mesh with recently returned Rajon Rondo, who also missed Monday night’s 102-86 win. Celtics coach Brad Stevens noticed Bradley was limping Sunday and he missed 11 of 13 shots, prompting the decision.
“Sore, same as it had been feeling,” Bradley said when asked about Sunday. “But I’ve just been trying to play through it. I don’t feel like I re-injured it or tweaked it. It’s just from the same injury. First quarter, I feel pretty good. After that, it’s a wrap.”
Bass a target?
One of the Celtics’ more attractive players to other clubs is power forward Brandon Bass, who has turned in another consistent season (10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 47 percent shooting). He could become a trade chip in the next two weeks and his contract is manageable ($6.75 million this season and $6.95 million next season), making a move considerable.
Bass, who has played with four teams, said the speculation doesn’t concern him.
“I’m not a big newspaper, media guy so I don’t really see [the rumors],” he said. “I would take it like anybody would take it. But for the most part we know it’s a business.”
Bass came to Boston as part of the Glen Davis trade in December 2011 and has been a staple at power forward. He is considered one of the league’s best mid-range shooters for his position.
“I love being part of the organization and I’m happy to be here but it’s a business,” he said. “You want to be wanted wherever you’re at. That’s what it comes down to. I’m living my dream playing in the NBA, playing with great players, great coaches. So the rumors about being traded really ain’t a bad thing. It’s the business of basketball, but I’m living my dream.”
Bass left Monday night’s game with 2:59 left in the third quarter after sustaining a corneal abrasion. Zaza Pachulia poked him in the eye during a scramble under the basket, and Bass hit the floor, writhing in pain. He will be examined Tuesday but said he was feeling better after the game.
“Do you see how I grabbed it?” Bass said when asked if the eye poke was painful. “If not, I would have dunked. It hurt so bad, I had to drop the ball. But I’ll be all right. It’s no big deal.”
Sullinger honoredThe NBA took note that Jared Sullinger has snapped out of his slump, naming him Eastern Conference Player of the Week as he averaged 20.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in three games — two victories. Sullinger is averaging 13.4 points this season, more than doubling his rookie average (6.0), along with a team-best 8.2 rebounds.
With 13 points and 10 boards Monday night, Sullinger has posted six consecutive double-doubles, averaging 19.8 points and 12.8 rebounds in that stretch. That came after a three-game stretch in which he averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. He said a conversation with his father, Satch, changed the course of his season.
“I gotta give my teammates credit, they kind of put the pressure on me as well as Brad as well as my father as well as my brothers and my mother, to play at a high rate,” Sullinger said. “Honestly, the biggest difference was the talk with my father. Pretty much I have to attribute all that to [the conversation].”
Stevens has given Sullinger the opportunity to shine by making him the starting center. Sullinger has started 38 of his 51 games.