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Avery Bradley returns to Celtics practice Monday

Dec 17, 2012, 4:06 PM EST

Avery Bradley AP

Here’s some good news for a Celtics team floating around .500 (12-11) and the bottom half of the Eastern Conference, they are about to get a starter back.

Avery Bradley returned to Celtics practice Monday following surgery on both shoulders this off-season, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

It’s still too soon to say when he will play again, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told CSNNE.com recently that he anticipates Bradley’s return to games being sometime in early January.

And Doc Rivers said on Monday that when Bradley does return, it will most likely be as a starter with Courtney Lee returning to the role of being a key perimeter reserve along with Jason Terry.

The Celtics came into this season with what they thought was a lot more depth, but that and the fit has been tested.

The Celtics defense on the season has been up and down — stretches of looking like we expect and stretches that are more average. Bradley should help with that — he is the kind of defensive first wing they could use (although Courtney Lee is no slouch). It adds depth to the Celtics they can use to exploit other teams.

But Bradley is not an offensive force and for the past 10 games that has been the Celtics real weakness — Boston has an offensive rating of 97.3 (points per 100 possessions) in their last 10 games, 28th in the NBA over that time. It’s been worse in the last five, 96.7 per 100.

Boston needs to find a flow on that end to get back anywhere close to where they thought they would be entering this season.

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