Pregame: Bradley returns in reserve role

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley will come off the bench in his return to game action on Friday night.

Bradley, who has missed 19 of the last 22 games due to a right ankle sprain, will be eased back given that he hasn't gone through a live practice. Bradley hasn't played since Feb. 9 and has missed 13 straight games.

"[Bradley is] moving pretty well," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "He felt really good, re-conferred with Dr. McKeon today and was giving the green light to go ahead. He’s not going to start for us and part of that is bringing him back easy from a minutes standpoint. I found that, when we first brought Rondo back and with that minute limitation, it was hard to manage that."

Bradley said he's anxious to return to game action, but that his ankle feels better.

"[The ankle] feels good. It’s been feeling good for the last few weeks," said Bradley. "We’ve just been taking our time, just making sure all the scar tissue is healing up so I don’t go out there and have a little accident and a little setback. But it feels amazing. When I injured it like a month ago, I couldn’t walk at all. But now I feel great."

The Celtics will stick with their recent starting 5 of Rajon Rondo, Jerryd Bayless, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Kris Humphries. With Bradley now available, Boston has the luxury of bringing Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk off the bench, adding depth they've missed for much of the season due to health woes.

A lot of familiar faces in the visitor's locker room with the Phoenix Suns, including Shavlik Randolph.

Asked if he was disappointed that the Celtics elected to release him this summer before his contract became guaranteed, Randolph admitted it was a tough process. He landed back in China, where a shoulder injury led to headaches with his overseas squad.

"I was really disappointed because I was expecting to be back here," admitted Randolph. "I was going through my summer, my offseason, preparing like I was going to be back here and what my role was going to be on this team. From all the communication we had, I think both sides -- I think they thought I was going to be back here. But I know this is a business, things happened and didn’t happen the way that they expected them to. And when it came time for them to pick up my option or let it go, I think some things happened, didn’t transpire the way they thought and they couldn’t, at that time, commit to my contract. It was pretty disappointing and shocking, but you have to move on, gotta keep doing what you got to do."