Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley likely won't return until late December or January at the earliest, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers told ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan in an interview published Monday.
"Not even close,'' Rivers said of Bradley's return from two separate offseason shoulder surgeries. "I don't like to put a time limit on injuries, but I don't think you'll see him before December — and there's a chance it could be closer to January.''
Rivers' prognosis is markedly different from what the Celtics publicly and privately gave earlier this summer. In July, a source told ESPN that Bradley might be ready to return by the start of Celtics training camp in September. And Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge also said then that Bradley likely wouldn't be out any longer than two months.
“We know there’s a possibility that Avery won’t be able to play the first month of the season,” Ainge told CSNNE.com. “So we have to be prepared for that. You never know how these things play out; will it be a month? Or two months? I don’t think it’ll be much longer than that, or he could be back sooner. You try to build a roster where you can get by with any injury, that can sustain you through a short period of time.”
Bradley last played for the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. He's one of Boston's best perimeter defenders. As insurance, Boston signed guards Jason Terry from the Dallas Mavericks and Courtney Lee from the Houston Rockets this offseason.