WALTHAM -- Doc Rivers said there is "a chance" Avery Bradley could return to the court during the Celtics' upcoming road trip.
At the same time, the Boston Celtics head coach isn't willing to take any chances on his young guard's comeback from surgery on both shoulders.
"I think there's a chance, but I don't know what the chances are," Rivers said following practice on Sunday. "I haven't talked to anybody. I just try to stay out of that because if he's close I don't want anyone feeling like I'm pressuring them -- Avery or, more importantly, the doctors. Avery wants to play. I guarantee he wants to play the next game. That's something I just try to stay away from."
Bradley, 22, began practicing this month as part of a lengthy recovery process from season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in May and a second procedure on his right shoulder in July. He is an integral piece to the Celtics backcourt and his gritty defense has been noticeably missed, but Rivers would rather err on the side of caution.
"He can play, there's no doubt," said Rivers. "He's ready to play, but I don't know about the healing part of it. Does it take those extra two weeks? He had two surgeries and I think that's what we forget. The first surgery was on one date, the second surgery was a lot later, and that's the shoulder that still needs to heal.
"Now if you can go through a practice the way we've gone, especially today, can he play in a game? He may be able to, but maybe it's still too early and I don't know the answer."
Bradley has set his sights on returning as an improved player. From defense to ball-handling to overall court vision, he has focused on various aspects of his game during his rehab.
"I think he's just trying to catch his wind right now," said Rivers. "I don't see anything other than I see Avery being a great defender right now."
That's why Rivers is willing to wait so patiently have to Bradley back on the court.