Stevens: Bradley unlikely to return before early second round

Stevens: Bradley unlikely to return before early second round

WALTHAM, Mass. – While the timetable for Avery Bradley's return remains very fluid, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens says the most likely return to the floor this season for Bradley would be in the latter stages of the second round if the Celtics can somehow come back and advance past the Atlanta Hawks who lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0.

Bradley, who suffered a right hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Boston’s 102-101 Game 1 loss to the Hawks, recently underwent an MRI which confirmed the injury.

“The big picture, long term, he’s going to be able to heal fully,” said Stevens who added that the 6-foot-2 guard would not require surgery. “It’ll all be good. It just takes time with hamstrings. Like I said, he’s definitely out this weekend and very unlikely to play in this series. Hamstrings are one of those things where you’re walking and walk down the hallway and look like a million bucks. But you start playing 32 minutes and have to change speeds and change direction and those types of things, that’s a different story.”

As for him returning in the playoffs, Stevens acknowledged there has not been much talk about that among himself and the team’s medical staff.

“They talked about towards the end of this series where he’s able to do a little bit more from a practice standpoint and those type of things,” Stevens said. “It’s still unlikely early in that (possible second round) situation, but possible as the days go on after that.”

That would create the kind of problem the Celtics would love to have, especially after they have fallen behind 2-0 in their best-of-seven series with the Hawks.

Although the series won’t be officially over if Boston were to lose Game 3, it has to be approached as a must-win game for the Celtics. No team in NBA history has come back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games.   

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”