Avery Bradley eyes potential Friday return

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley is eyeing a potential return to game action on Friday against the Phoenix Suns.

Bradley underwent an MRI earlier this week as part of a reevaluation and that cleared him to resume some basketball activities. He got up shots before the Celtics' off-day walkthrough at the team's training facility on Saturday and said the right ankle that has sidelined him for 16 of the past 19 games feels much better.

"I'm progressing and my ankle's a lot better than it was," Bradley said. "It feels better and it looks better."

Bradley guessed that he's about a week away from a return to game action, a timeline that was echoed by coach Brad Stevens.

"[Team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] just told me Friday is a possibility, but we’ll see," Stevens said. "I don’t want to say with any certainty on Friday or not. It doesn’t look like Tuesday or Wednesday he would play, but hopefully we get him back sooner rather than later."

Bradley started the team's first 43 games of the season before suffering the ankle injury in Miami in late January. He tried to return after an initial five-game absence but the pain persisted, putting him back on the shelf for much of February.

The Celtics have brought Bradley back slowly this time and is eager to get back on -- and stay on -- the court.

"It comes with how I play -- especially with an injury like this -- how hard I play," he said. "It's been unfortunate, but I definitely have to watch it because obviously I'm competitive, I want to help my team and I want to get out there. But that's probably why I've been sitting out so long. They've been holding me back. They don’t want me to make a mistake or go out there and hurt myself again."

The 23-year-old Bradley is averaging career-bests at 14.3 points and 3.9 rebounds over 30.6 minutes per game this season.