BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics came away with a win Friday night against the Hawks, but did so once again in shorthanded fashion.
The team still can’t shake the injury bug in the backcourt, as Avery Bradley missed his second straight game with a strained calf.READ MORE: Brockton High School Adds Metal Detectors, Bag Searches To Updated Safety Precautions
Marcus Smart also missed three games with a sprained toe prior to Wednesday’s game, leaving the Boston at less than full strength for the past five games now and counting.
Bradley suffered his calf injury during Tuesday’s win in Milwaukee and was optimistic he would be able to suit up yesterday, but thought better of it after getting additional input from team trainer Ed Lacerte.
“Coming in this morning I thought I would give it a shot,” Bradley said Friday.” But I always trust Ed, our trainer. He just said he didn’t feel like I should. It’s not 100 percent. I’m just going to continue to get treatment and prepare myself for the game on Sunday.”
Bradley has a track record of coming back from injuries a little bit too early throughout his career. He specifically has dealt with ankle injuries in multiple seasons that have hampered him for weeks at a time after he re-aggravated them upon his return to action.
This time around Bradley vows not to make the same mistake, while also returning to the court ahead of any projected timetable.
“It’s tough not being able to be there for my teammates,” Bradley explained, “That’s why I wanted to play so bad. I had my mind set Thursday, like I’m playing no matter what.READ MORE: Rain Returns, Heavy Tuesday With Threat Of Flooding And Damaging Winds
“Ed always reminds me I have to be smart. Same with Brad. And it helped change my decision. I just can’t wait until I get back on the floor so I can help my teammates.”
The injury bug has struck Bradley consistently throughout his NBA career as he’s missed at least 20 games in three of his five seasons due to various ailments.
One of the goals he mentioned during the preseason was to play all 82 games this year, but that possibility was taken away from him very quickly. He’s not letting the setback get him down though this early in the year.
“It’s frustrating, but things like this happen, especially with the way I play,” Bradley said. “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 main focus.”
Luckily, the Celtics have the depth right now to overcome Bradley’s absence with Evan Turner and R.J. Hunter all getting additional minutes in the meantime.
Bradley can afford to be patient, but he’s still itching for the chance to return which could come as soon as Sunday night in Oklahoma City.
“Usually when you strain something, it takes longer to heal,” Bradley said. “But I play through injuries. That’s me. I’m not going to be out for two weeks no matter what.”MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.