Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/12/14
WALTHAM, Mass. — Avery Bradley must have left his green-tinted halo at home, because the Celtics’ supposed savior was missing his angelic glow on Tuesday. Bradley has not played competitively since May 18, yet many fans and observers seem to be counting on him to rescue the Celtics from their current slide. Bradley has heard those folks’ cries for help, but as he prepares to make his season debut Wednesday against the Grizzlies, he has tried to tune them out. “I try not to worry about it,” Bradley said Tuesday at the Celtics’ practice facility. “All you can do is go out there and play hard. That’s all I know how to do. That’s the only way I know how to play, just go out there and leave everything on the floor, and [Wednesday] that’s what you guys will see.” Within the team, the expectations for Bradley are tempered by the reality of his injuries and the length of his layoff. Celtics coach Doc Rivers pointed out that even if Bradley completely shuts down one opposing guard, the Celtics would still have four other players to deal with. It also remains to be seen how Bradley’s jump shot, which developed into a semi-reliable weapon in the second half of last season, will be affected by the surgeries on both shoulders and seven months of rehabilitation. Bradley’s teammates therefore are only cautiously anticipating the contributions he will be able to make in his comeback. “There’s a lot of things that Avery can bring to the table,” Jared Sullinger said. “It’s just about, is Avery going to have his game legs or not? It’s going to take some time. We’re not going to put very, very high expectations on Avery right this minute. We know he expects highly of himself, so we’ll see what happens.” Still, Bradley’s return is not without its benefits. Rajon Rondo has carried a heavier load defensively, especially when paired with Jason Terry, in guarding the opponent’s best backcourt player. The energy Rondo has needed to expend defensively has taken a gradual toll, and in the past couple of weeks, he has been a split-second slow in contesting passes that he normally picks off with ease. Now a bruised thigh has made it even tougher for Rondo to maintain the mobility needed to defend elite guards for a full game. Bradley, who Rondo admits is a superior defender to himself, will ease the starting point guard’s burden while also freeing him up for other defensive responsibilities. “I’m going to be able to play off the ball a lot more with Avery,” said Rondo, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game. “He’s a better pick and roll defender than me, so that takes a lot of pressure off me, not only defending the pick and roll but also coming down the court, creating plays as well. He plays with a lot of energy. A lot of guys don’t like to face a guy like Avery. I think he’s the best defender in the league, hands down, at the guard position.” It is funny how drastically things can change. A little more than a year ago, Bradley was fighting to avoid another trip to the D-League. Now he is making the most highly anticipated comeback of the season for the Celtics, even if the reputation that precedes him might be a bit unfair. All things considered, coming off two surgeries and a seven-month layoff, Bradley should not be called upon to be the best perimeter defender in the league again, right away. Yet if that is not quite the Avery Bradley the Celtics expect, that is the one they need. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Insider information suspected on National Anthem betting

Giants co-owner Ann Mara dies at age 85

Pats-Seahawks tickets most expensive in S.B. history

Report: Seahawks offer Lynch a huge contract

Super Bowl matchup of low round QBs a rarity

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reporter who broke Deflategate story receiving death threats

Sherman not expecting baby on Super Bowl Sunday

Report: Peyton Manning likely to announce return shortly

Report: Jets, Bills expected to pursue Darrelle Revis

Falcons being investigated for fake crowd noise

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Marshawn Lynch rocks gold cleats during pregame

Earl Thomas did not like ‘Legion of Boom’ nickname at first

WATCH: Kevin Love booed by fans in return to Minnesota

WATCH: Gregg Popovich gets nailed in head with a shot

Tom Brady sounds fired up for Super Bowl

Deion Sanders’ charter school shut down

The six most popular players in Super Bowl XLIX

Tony Dungy voted for Bobby Wagner for NFL MVP

Patriots' footballs were 'just a few ticks' under limit?

2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class announced

Anderson Silva beats Nick Diaz in return to octagon

WATCH: 'SNL' mocks Super Bowl

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Seahawks make Lynch a huge offer?

Super Bowl matchup of low-round QBs a rarity

Kevin Love booed in Minnesota return

Deion’s charter school shut down

Dungy cast the Wagner MVP vote

Report: Jets, Bills to pursue Revis

Did the Falcons pipe in crowd noise?

2015 Hall of Fame class announced

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Tim Duncan suing financial adviser?

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.