NBA

Avery Bradley.

Avery Bradley's hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared, says Danny Ainge

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Avery Bradley struggled off the hardwood at the Phillips Center during game one of the first-round series between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks.

His injury was seen as a huge loss to the Celtics and his presence was certainly missed in game two as the Hawks produced a dominant defensive display to take a 2-0 series lead heading to Beantown. 

After the injury, it was believed the guard had suffered a grade three hamstring strain that would rule him out for the rest of the series. However, while it is highly unlikely he will make an appearance against Atlanta, there has been some better news coming out of TD Garden.

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President of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that Bradley had avoided the worst-case scenario and, in fact, his grade two strain was closer to grade one. 

Ainge did insist he would stop the 25-year-old from making a decision that could be detrimental in the long run. 

As per ESPN, the former Celtics player said: "Avery is so critical, such a critical piece of our future, I'm certainly not going to allow Avery to go out at less than 100 percent.

Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks - Game One

"I know Avery is fighting at the bit; he would try to play under any circumstance if he could run. I will prevent and intervene there to keep Avery from jeopardising himself and making sure he doesn't make a bad decision."

Before going on to say: "[It's] Not as bad as it could have been, he's much better, but I think it's a long shot that Avery will be back in this series."

LOSS

Having played in 76 of the Celtics' regular season games, Bradley has been a huge loss for the most famous franchise in NBA history. He was averaging 15.2 points per night - shooting 44.7 percent - and was providing 2.1 assists for his teammates. 

Without him in game two, the Celtics looked a shadow of their usual selves and were put to the sword by a hungry Atlanta team. Heading back to their own stomping ground, Boston will be looking to enjoy some home comforts but know they can ill afford to drop a game if they want to advance further into the postseason. 

Brad Stevens and his men have overachieved all season and, during they game on Tuesday night, where they combined for just 72 points, their weaknesses were clear to see. 

The Hawks will not be capable of producing 15 blocks per night. Time and space on the court, that was so expertly limited by Atlanta in game two, may be easier to come by. But still, it is a question of whether they can take advantage. 

The Hawks look locked in. They are keen to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year running and, without Bradley, Boston's task seems significantly harder. 

Topics:
Avery Bradley
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Isaiah Thomas

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