Avery Bradley out early with injured ankle
MIAMI — Guard Avery Bradley left the Celtics’ 93-86 loss to the Heat Tuesday with a sprained ankle in the second quarter. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he wasn’t sure if Bradley would play Wednesday against the Wizards.
“I don’t know,” Stevens said. “It looks like he got it pretty good. It didn’t seem like he was walking great. If I had to guess, personally, I would say no, but it would be a guess.”
The Celtics are already without guard Jerryd Bayless, who suffered a sprained big left toe Sunday against Orlando and sat out Tuesday.
Bayless could miss 7-10 days. Bradley’s injury, along with Bayless’s, saps the Celtics’ perimeter depth, and guard Rajon Rondo is playing on limited minutes.
To help fix this issue, it appeared as though the Celtics were already bringing in reinforcements.
According to multiple media reports, the Celtics plan to sign guard Vander Blue to a 10-day contract. The former Marquette standout is playing for the Delaware 87ers in the NBA Development League.
In four games with the 87ers, Blue was averaging 19 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
After the game, Stevens said he didn’t know if the Celtics had signed another player to a 10-day contract.
“First of all, I don’t know whether I’d be allowed to say, and secondly, it was just mentioned to me real briefly that we might do that on the way out here,” he said.
Chris Johnson, who is on a 10-day contract with the Celtics, and undrafted reserve guard Phil Pressey will likely see more minutes soon.
Speaking of Pressey before Tuesday’s game, Stevens said “His minutes have gone up and with Jerryd out, he’ll continue to play a big, big role for us.”
Pressey said he’s ready, and that he’ll continue to rely on his teammates.
“I know I’m on a quick learning curve, so whenever I need something, I ask Jerryd, I ask Rondo,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have been in this position before and they help me out.”
Pressey, a 5-foot-11 inch undrafted free agent out of Missouri, has averaged eight assists over nearly 24 minutes in the Celtics last three games entering Tuesday.
Over that time, Pressey has made several Rondo-esque passes (some of the no-look variety, even) while also pushing the tempo.
“He plays with great pace just generally,” Stevens said. “It’s who he is. He’s a little guy, and he’s figured out ways to be successful in a big person’s game. He does move the ball well.”
Rondo off target
There wasn’t much for Rondo to take away from his performance after Tuesday’s game.
“The only thing is, I don’t think I can play any worse than that,” Rondo said after missing all eight of his shots and scoring just 1 point in 25 minutes, 43 seconds, the most he has played in his three games back after sitting for nearly a year.
Rondo said he didn’t have any excuses for his performance, and that he felt fine with the minutes load, which had been increased from 20 minutes in his first game.
“Adrenaline is pretty powerful,” he said. “I don’t feel any different.”
Rondo looked simply rusty, and it wasn’t clear after the game if he’d play Wednesday when the Celtics play at Washington.
Rondo said he’d talk about it with the team’s trainer on the morning of the game and that a decision would likely be made on how he feels.
At this point, though, he spends a lot of time getting massaged or having his knee iced or having some contraption on it to help along his recovery process.
Rondo estimated he’s tending to his body in some form or fashion for as many as five hours per day. “This is my life,” he said.
Stevens wasn’t discouraged by Rondo’s performance.
“I think it’s really hard for Rondo right now because he’s in his exhibition season,” Stevens said. “He’s three games in a year in which he hasn’t played. I was really proud of him for taking it to the rim, getting fouled and getting to the foul line. I was proud of him for shooting that last 3-pointer on the dribble. You got to battle with a guy like that.”
Said Heat star LeBron James, “It’s different but obviously Rondo is working his way back to form. You could tell right now that he’s just getting comfortable. He’s on a restricted time limit right now.”
James added, “He’s one of the better competitors we have in our league and when he’s out on the floor he makes everyone better. He breaks down defenses and he puts his guys in a position to succeed every single possession and you have to account for him.”
Heat star Dwyane Wade missed his third straight game with a knee injury . . . The Celtics’ starting backcourt of Rondo and Bradley shot 0 for 11 . . . James had a game-high 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting . . . Eight of Jared Sullinger’s 11 rebounds were on the offensive glass . . . Heat center Chris Bosh shot 7 of 10 for 16 points . . . Old friend Ray Allen shot 3 of 7, 1 of 4 on 3-pointers, and had 7 points.
Baxter Holmes can be reached at email@example.com.