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Avery Bradley out vs. Hawks, eyes Sunday return in Oklahoma City

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley missed his second straight game on Friday night due to a calf strain but said he's targeting a return on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Bradley originally thought he got kicked in the calf but now believes he simply strained it late in Tuesday's win over the Milwaukee Bucks. While Bradley acknowledged that the injury might typically sideline a player for as much as two weeks, he's adamant he'll be back sooner.

"Coming in this morning, I thought I would give it a shot. But I always trust [team trainer] Ed [Lacerte]," Bradley said. "He just said he didn’t feel like I should. It’s not 100 percent. So I’m sitting out. I’m just going to continue to get treatment and prepare myself for the game on Sunday."

Added Bradley: "I think an injury like this, you’re usually out two weeks. But they’re doing a great job. I’m feeling better every single day. I just have to, like I said, continue to get treatment and take care of myself so I’m ready for the next game."

With Bradley out, Isaiah Thomas remained in the starting lineup against the visiting Atlanta Hawks. Thomas has now started five of Boston's eight games this season due to injuries to both starting guards Bradley and Marcus Smart.

Smart missed three games due to a sprained big toe, but returned on Wednesday in a reserve role and elevated back to his starting spot on Friday.

Coach Brad Stevens didn't think Bradley looked ready for game action on Friday.

"He did not look 100 percent to me and, just from a long-term perspective, it’s a strain, it’s a muscle strain," Stevens said. "You just hesitate that it would get worse if he played if he’s not fully ready."

Bradley, who played a career-high 77 games last season, has been nagged by injuries over his six-year career, but is eager to get back on the floor.

"Usually when you strain something it takes longer to heal. But I play through injuries," Bradley said. "That’s me. I’m not going to be out for two weeks no matter what. Like I said, I’m just trying to prepare for the next games.

"It’s frustrating, but things like this happen, especially with the way I play. I just can’t worry about it. I just have to continue to stay positive and try to improve as an individual by watching film and continue to keep my teammates positive. That’s my man focus."