I probably gained 15 pounds yesterday, no joke. That’s what happens when you put a never-ending supply of dill dip and kielbasa in front of me. I parked my fat ass on the couch (prime real estate for the hors devours) and only moved when I needed to snatch a Coke, or fill my dinner plate. I woke up this morning and couldn’t even think about eating, and definitely didn’t want to look at my fat ass in the mirror.
Lost in all the turkey (and dill dip, and kielbasa, and cake) splurging was that Avery Bradley’s injury wasn’t actually the worst sprained ankle in modern history. He actually underwent surgery to remove a large bone chip from his left ankle.
Bradley admitted he is not quite back to 100%, but his ankle feels better than it has since the surgery.
“Sometimes I go so hard in two-on-two [games] it tends to tighten up on me,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “I’d say I’m about 95 percent. If I take my ankle brace off, it’s still weak. But I’ve been practicing every single day and doing individual workouts real hard, so my ankle’s been strong.’’
The Celtics’ rookie point guard, who assistant coach Kevin Eastman says has only participated in three practices this season (including training camp), still hasn’t earned Doc Rivers’ trust. If Rajon Rondo can’t play tonight, said Rivers, Marquis Daniels will likely take over the backup point guard position.
“We have no choice,” Rivers told the Boston Herald. “We can play Avery (Bradley) in spots, but we have to protect him.”
“I was talking about it today for Avery,” Doc Rivers told CSNNE. “I think [assistant coach] Lawrence [Frank] or [assistant coach] Kevin Eastman said he’s been through three full practices this season, including training camp. And he’s a rookie, and we’re going to throw him on the floor? So we may, at times [play Bradley], but we’ve just got to protect him. We don’t want to ruin him. And he’s not healthy yet. Not great health.”
No offense meant to Rivers, but he has a tendency to “protect” rookies far more than he should. At some point, a coach just has to throw his first-round draft pick into a game and let him be baptized by fire. Especially now – with Rondo out, Delonte West injured, and cupcakes on the schedule — letting Bradley play minutes makes a whole lot of sense.
Letting rookies toil on the bench has become part of Rivers’ reputation, and it’s the biggest complaint I have with Rivers. He’s one of the best coaches in the NBA, and maybe his way of keeping rookies nailed to the bench works. But it sure is frustrating, isn’t it? Keeping Bradley on the bench might not just ”protect” him — it also might “hinder” his development.
Danny Ainge said it best.
“We love Avery,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “We think Avery is a talent. The only way he’ll grow as a player is with the opportunity to play. And there’s always growing pains for coaches playing young players, but at some point he needs the chance.’’
At some point Bradley needs the chance. So why not now?