Rajon Rondo might not be ready to return to action for the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, but fellow guard Avery Bradley expects to play for the first time this season.
Bradley underwent offseason surgery on both shoulders. Rondo bruised his right hip Thursday, didn’t play Saturday, then struggled through 36 minutes Sunday, scoring two points.
“I’m excited, the team is excited, I’m sure the fans are excited,” Bradley said. “I’m just going to go out there and play Celtics basketball.”
Rondo skipped practice Tuesday.
“When you’re getting beat down the court by a big (man), it’s frustrating,” Rondo said, referring to Sunday’s road game against the Sacramento Kings, which the Celtics lost 118-96. “I’m OK. I’ll be fine. It’s not like I need surgery or anything. It’s just a bruise.”
Coach Doc Rivers said, “I didn’t think he was very aggressive (Sunday). When his guy scores 27 and he scores two, that tells you all you need to know. He couldn’t move much.
“We talked after the game and I couldn’t give him an answer, whether he was helping or hurting the team the way he was moving. But you want him on the floor, so it’s a tough call.”
Boston lost the final three games of its just-concluded four-game road trip. The Celtics play host to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Preview: Bulls at Magic
The losses keep piling up for the injury-wracked Orlando Magic, who will attempt to halt a six-game slide when they host the slumping Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. The Magic haven’t won since forward Glen Davis — the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder — suffered a sprained left shoulder in a victory over the Washington Wizards on Dec. 19. Orlando’s backcourt also has been depleted with the injuries to starting point guard Jameer Nelson (hip) and backup E’Twaun Moore (elbow).
Chicago closed out 2012 on the lowest of notes, absorbing a 91-81 home loss to Charlotte that snapped the Bobcats’ 18-game losing streak. It marked the third defeat in four games for the Bulls, who have failed to reach 90 points in seven of their last 13 contests. Richard Hamilton scored 11 points in his second game back after missing the previous 12 with a foot injury, but backcourt mate Kirk Hinrich sat out the loss to Charlotte for what coach Tom Thibodeau termed a “compilation of things.”
ABOUT THE BULLS (16-13): Just as Carlos Boozer was emerging from his offensive doldrums with his second straight double-double, center Joakim Noah has gone into a tailspin, averaging 6.3 points in his last three games and turning in a feeble two-point, four-rebound performance in the loss to Charlotte. “We’re in a funk right now, we’ve been up and down this season,” reserve forward Taj Gibson acknowledged. “We just have to find our way out of it.”
ABOUT THE MAGIC (12-19): Center Nikola Vucevic set a franchise record by hauling down 29 rebounds to go with 20 points in Monday’s 112-110 home loss to the reigning champion Miami Heat. The injury to Nelson — who has missed the last two games — is a double-whammy for Orlando, which is 1-8 without him in the lineup. Nelson scored a season-high 28 points against New Orleans and followed that up with a 14-point first quarter versus Washington in his last two games.