Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/1/13
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

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off despite reports

Report: Rangers to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies

WATCH: Tulo hits first home run with Blue Jays

NFLPA officially files Brady lawsuit, wants QB to play Week 1

Mariota’s lack of red flags was a concern for NFL teams

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tigers 'rebooting,' make David Price available in trade

Jerry Jones backs Roger Goodell amid Deflategate controversy

Brady, agent contacted AT&T in attempt to retrieve deleted texts

Report: Chancellor 'strongly considering a camp holdout'

Colts become favorites to win AFC with Brady suspended

Dodgers reportedly acquire Mat Latos and Michael Morse

Revis won't wear Super Bowl ring around Jets teammates

Former NBAer Vin Baker now works at Starbucks

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Mike Leach compares Deflategate to Kardashians

All Panthers home games will also be broadcast in Spanish

Giants owner calls Pierre-Paul debacle ‘very disappointing’

Panthers WR cited for marijuana paraphernalia, had child in car

Bruins-Canadiens Winter Classic details announced

Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez: Twin trade chips

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Canseco will live as a woman to support Caitlyn Jenner

Giants owner says nobody from team has seen JPP's hand

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

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker