Bradley’s itinerary includes surgery, rehab
WALTHAM — There are a number of things Avery Bradley needs to do before he ever takes the floor for the Celtics — the most urgent being surgery on an ankle he severely sprained during a draft workout. But yesterday, after making the quick turnaround after being taken with the 19th pick in the draft, he walked through his new team’s practice facility and took it all in.
“I was just excited to get on the plane and land in Boston,’’ said Avery. “Right when it landed, that’s when it hit me that my dream came true. I’m going to get a chance to play for one of the best teams in the NBA.’’
It will be weeks, however, before he’ll actually get to the playing part.
Bradley’s injury will keep him out of summer league, which starts July 5. The 19-year-old guard may not be ready for another six weeks at the earliest. Bradley sprained his ankle June 13 working out for Oklahoma, causing him to miss four workouts.
“Right now just looking to get back and get ready so I can start training camp,’’ Bradley said.
On draft night, Celtics president Danny Ainge said he was surprised to see Bradley slip so far, but acknowledged the injury might have been one of the reasons. Ainge said the rookie would have surgery and rehab in Boston.
“Avery will need a scope of his ankle,’’ Ainge said. “It will be about six weeks. He’ll probably say three weeks, but probably six to eight weeks but he’ll be 100 percent by training camp.’’
Alongside the second-round pick Luke Harangody, Bradley ran through the normal routine for fresh draftees, posing with jerseys, staring at banners, meeting the higher-ups, and facing the media.
Or as Ainge joked, “The corny stuff.’’
But for Harangody, it was an honor. The 6-foot-7-inch forward grew up in Indiana, the only place where the legend of Larry Bird could be bigger than it is in Boston.
“Last night when I heard my name called it was a big deal for myself and my family,’’ Harangody said. “Just for them to give me a chance to make this roster and be part of this organization was a huge deal, especially being from Indiana, it was a big deal as well. It was just a huge deal hearing my name and being with the Boston Celtics.’’
Harangody will come into the league with a chip on his shoulder that’s been developing for two seasons now. He entered the 2009 draft after his junior year at Notre Dame, but withdrew his name after hearing that he’d likely be a second-round pick. This year, he fell to No. 52 despite averaging 21.8 points as a senior.
“I’ve had to deal with that,’’ Harangody said. “I put my name in the draft last year and I’ve heard it ever since that you’re going to be a second-rounder, but that only just motivates me more. I feel like I’ve put my dues in college and I wasn’t good enough to get in the first round but I kind of just have to start over again and do the same thing as when I came to college because I wasn’t really a big name then. I have the motivation and it’s great. I’ve got to start all over again, and I’m just another player.’’
For Bradley, the path to the league has almost been a blur. After starring at Bellarmine Prep in Washington his junior year, he ventured to Findlay Prep in Nevada, then spent a year at the University of Texas. Now he’s in Boston, with a chance to play behind All-Star Rajon Rondo.
“It’s been tough going from high school then going to prep school and then college,’’ Bradley said. “But throughout all those years I was able to mature and become a better basketball player and play good competition and getting a work ethic that I feel like I’m going to be able to continue to have playing for the Boston Celtics.’’
Ainge said he isn’t rushing either pick along, pointing to Bradley’s age as a factor. He sees potential for Harangody to follow in a line of second-round picks including Glen Davis, Leon Powe, and Ryan Gomes that have contributed as reliable players.
“One thing that led both of them to us are all the little intangibles,’’ Ainge said. “They play every possession. They don’t take possessions off. They give you the best effort at both ends of the court. And they’re different types of players.’’
Avery’s speed and defense are his biggest assets. Harangody’s rebounding and effort complement his scoring.
“They do all the little things that it takes to win,’’ Ainge said. “And on top of all that, they’re very talented. So the combination of all those things are what drove me to take them.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.