Avery Bradley feeling good, targets post All-Star return vs. Raptors

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, sidelined for all but one game since Jan. 6 because of an Achilles strain, said Wednesday he planned to resume basketball activities over the All-Star break with a goal of returning to game action when Boston opens the second half of the season in Toronto next Friday.

"I'm feeling really good. I wish I could be back now, but I just have to do whatever is smartest at the moment," Bradley said. "The medical staff thinks it's smarter for me to just wait until after the All-Star break."

Bradley sat out four games after initially straining his right Achilles against the Philadelphia 76ers then returned for a game against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 16. When soreness persisted after that game, Bradley and team doctors elected to take a more cautious approach and not rush him back.

Bradley hasn't been able to engage in much on-court work while rehabbing but plans to ramp that up over the All-Star break then practice with the Celtics when they reconvene next week. Barring a setback, he'll return against the Raptors.

"I really haven't done much. I've been doing more so conditioning and strengthening, upper body and lower body, just making sure I'm strong enough for when I do return," Bradley said. "Now we're getting the basketball stuff in, so I'm hoping over All-Star I can play some basketball and be ready for the first game [of the second half]."

Added Bradley: "I have to listen to [the medical staff], but I feel good right now. But I have to obviously be smart and listen to the experts."

The Celtics are 13-5 in the games Bradley has missed because of the injury, but it hasn't made being sidelined much easier.

"They've been playing well. I don't want to mess anything up but, selfishly, I do wish I was playing, it's just part of it," Bradley said. "I wish I could be around the guys, but they have been playing well, I'm happy with how they've been playing. I've just been rooting those guys on and hopefully we can continue to play that same way and, when I'm added, hopefully I can help us out even more."

Is he surprised by Boston's success in his absence?

"I'm not surprised at all," he said. "Brad [Stevens] and the coaching staff, they've been doing a great job of making sure we're focused and prepared for every single game and the guys are going out there, executing the game plan, and playing team basketball.

"Different guys are bringing it every single night -- some nights it's James Young getting an opportunity, you have Gerald Green playing well, I can go down the list, Kelly Olynyk, all those guys. I'm happy that they're getting an opportunity and they are making the most of it and playing well as a team."

Bradley stressed that he has had no setbacks as part of his recovery and that all the soreness in his Achilles has dissipated. Bradley admitted that he probably shouldn't have tried to return in mid-January.

"You live and you learn," he said. "Now I'm just being smart about it so I can be prepared to play at a high level for this team."