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Avery Bradley set back further by ankle

10/17/2010 - NBA Avery Bradley Boston Celtics + more

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Floor time is floor time. So when Celtics coach Doc Rivers tabbed Avery Bradley to address the fans before Boston's preseason win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night at the XL Center, the rookie did the thankless task knowing it'd be the only time he'd be on the court that night.

Rivers said after the game that Bradley's surgically repaired left ankle is still not responding well to rehab and the team is pondering whether to shut him down indefinitely to allow a greater recovery.

For Bradley, it's the latest setback in a frustrating four-month span as he recovers from arthroscopic surgery that was performed on July 2, the same day he inked his rookie deal with the Celtics.

"I'm more upset for him because this is not the way you want to break into the NBA," Rivers said. "Where you're frustrated and you can't play. We probably have to try something else because what we're doing is clearly not working. [Celtics trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and I talked about it [Friday] night. I don't know what, but what we're doing is not working."

What possible avenues could the Celtics travel?

"It's just so sore, maybe he's just not ready to play right now," Rivers said. "And we may just sit him down and let him do rehab. Maybe we pushed him back too soon."

That seems impossible for Bradley, who by summer's end was desperate to get back on the court. The Celtics ultimately shut him down through training camp, limiting him to noncontact drills until last weekend.

Bradley made his NBA debut Tuesday night in Philadelphia, scoring two points over 12 minutes, but logged just two minutes in each of Boston's next two games before being told he would not play against the Knicks in Hartford.

"I'll do whatever they tell me to do," Bradley said after Saturday's game. "Really, whatever coach Doc Rivers or whatever the trainers tell me to do, that's what I'm going to do to get healthy and get back on the court."

One thing Bradley did stress is that he does not think he'll require additional surgery to alleviate the soreness, but he couldn't rule it out all together.

"No, nothing like that," Bradley said. "At least, I don't think so."

The Celtics are hoping some additional rest will cure what ails him. After taking Saturday off, Bradley is scheduled for treatment during the team's off day on Sunday.

He's got eyes toward practicing Monday, but admits he might have to wait longer than that.

"We'll take it day-by-day," Bradley said. "[Sunday] I'll go in and get treatment and see how I feel. Hopefully I'll be back at practice -- if they let me -- on Monday and go from there."

Bradley said after Tuesday's game in Philadelphia that his ankle tightened up on him after the intermission. His soreness sets in during the lull after heightened activity, but there's pain even after routine warm-ups, which was evident against Toronto.

"[Friday night] we put him in and, after two minutes, you could see [Bradley was uncomfortable]," Rivers said. "This hasn't gone the way we'd like."

Bradley sprained the ankle working out for the Oklahoma City Thunder in mid-June and the injury might have contributed to him sliding to the Celtics on draft day. During his limited time on the court, he's shown NBA ability on defense, while still playing catch-up with the offense.

Despite all the frustration, Bradley is making the most out of his inability to get on the floor. During games, he's a sponge on the bench, listening to advice as it's offered by veterans and the coaching staff.

The Celtics project Bradley as a combo guard, hoping his shooting skills will expand to complement his defensive talents. His injury is costing him some valuable reps, particularly with a second team that doesn't have a combo guard with Delonte West suspended for the first 10 games of the season.

But Bradley knows he can detour his NBA career even further if he tries to rush back from injury. The longer he allows the injury to lush, the less time he might ultimately stay away from the court.

Then, unlike Saturday night, when he was forced to get on the microphone, he can let his play do the talking.

Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.