Avery Bradley will miss Game 5 due to not one, but two bothersome shoulders. (Glass full: at least Bradley doesn’t have three bothersome shoulders.) It’s not contagious, I don’t think, but Doc Rivers said the 21-year old might have injured his right shoulder trying to protect his injured left. Ray Allen will take Bradley’s spot in the lineup during the young buck’s absence.
This might not just be a tonight thing, either. Bradley is expected to be a day-to-day decision for the remainder of the playoffs.
“It’s not just the one — it’s actually both shoulders. And that’s probably trying to protect the other one. It’s pretty bad. We have to keep winning, obviously, and hope he can still play games that day. But I think this is probably how it’s going to be from this point on. I think he’ll play a game and miss a couple, and play a game,” said Doc Rivers.
The Celtics coach added that Bradley’s strength hasn’t returned since his shoulder temporarily dislocated in Game 4. With Bradley out, Allen regains his familiar spot in the starting five.
But it’s a testament to Allen’s health issues, and his off-and-on (and mostly off) play this postseason, that Rivers isn’t sure whether he or somebody else will step up in Bradley’s absence.
“One of the three — Keyon [Dooling], Ray or [Mickael Pietrus] — will take a bigger role without Avery. It’d be easy to tell you before the game who it would be — obviously you hope it’s Ray, but Ray’s limited with his health,” Rivers explained. “So it may end up having to be one of the other two guys.”
Despite cold shooting through most of the playoffs, Bradley is second on the Celtics behind Kevin Garnett in on-court/off-court numbers. Rivers understands that the loss is critical to Boston’s chances.
“We lose our defensive captain,” Rivers said, also mentioning Kevin Garnett’s name to reference Boston’s other clear defensive leader. “When Avery’s [not playing], it takes away the ability to put Rondo on different guys to give him a rest at times. I think ball pressure against Philly is really important, and to ask Rondo to do that and run the team is very difficult. So he clearly takes something out of our lineup.”
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- Ray Allen, Josh Smith in; Avery Bradley a game-time decision