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Celtics guard Avery Bradley has been battling a left shoulder ailment this season.WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that Avery Bradley's shoulder dislocated again during Friday's Game 4 loss in Philadelphia, at least the third occurrence of the playoffs, and expressed concern about how long the second-year guard can continue to play through the pain.
Bradley did not participate in Sunday's afternoon workout and is officially a game-time decision for Monday's Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series (though the expectation is that he will likely play).
"It came out. It went right back in, which is crazy," Rivers said of the Game 4 dislocation. "It’s a tough thing, what he’s going through. A lot of players would not be playing."
Rivers said he dealt with painful shoulder dislocations, but nothing to the extent of what Bradley is battling. Bradley dealt with minor dislocations during the regular season and the shoulder would often pop back in whenever it slid out. During Game 3 against the Hawks, it didn't immediately go back in and he's worn a sleeve over his left shoulder to help alleviate discomfort. The team initially listed him with a sore left rotator cuff.
"It’s his first playoffs and he’s dealing with stuff. It’s just tough. It really is," said Rivers. "I swear, a lot of people would not be playing and the only reason that he is is because he wants to. But I am concerned at some point that he may not be able to any more. We don't know what game that is, we don’t know if he can finish it -- we could go all the way and he could play. Or tomorrow could be his last game. You really don’t know."
Bradley underwent treatment before Sunday's practice, but was held off the floor as the team went through half-court sets in a light workout. As has been the case for much of the postseason, it's still likely that Bradley, who carried on at the end of Game 4, will be available for Monday's Game 5.
Count Celtics captain Paul Pierce among those impressed by what Bradley is fighting through.
"It’s who he is, the guy wants to be out there," Pierce said. "Guy wants to win, wants to do everything he can to help his ball club. What more can I say? A lot of young players might sit down, worry about their futures, their career, their contract situations. At the end of the day, Avery he has to do what's best for him and his family, and possibly for the long run. Hopefully he doesn’t have any long-term injuries due to the fact that he’s playing. I think it's a fine line."
In 10 postseason games, Bradley is averaging 6.7 points per game while shooting 36.8 percent from the field and 22.7 percent beyond the arc. Clearly hindered by the shoulder ailment, his numbers have dropped dramatically after jumping into the starting lineup late in the season and averaging 15.1 points per game on 52 percent shooting, including 54.5 percent beyond the arc, over 15 games in April.
"He’s been up and down (in the postseason)," Rivers admitted. "Defensively, he’s been very effective... But offensively, he’s been on and off. (The 76ers) are absolutely making him score. They are leaving him, they are sagging the paint. They understand what’s going on with his shoulder too, and their thought is, if guy’s got a bad shoulder, he’s got to make shots, he’s got to finish in the paint.
"And I think that’s the one thing we see with his shoulder, he doesn’t want to drive as much. You don’t see him in the paint as much. Because that’s the two or three times that (the shoulder has) gone out, when he’s taken the hit. And you don’t blame him. But we do need to try to get him cutting again."