Avery Bradley could return for the Lakers on Wednesday
Lakers defensive ace Avery Bradley had a workout with teammates when the team arrived in Orlando on Tuesday evening, clearing the way for the guard to play against the Magic on Wednesday night, according to people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Bradley will be on a playing restriction of 20 minutes.
He had been sidelined the last 13 consecutive games after being diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his lower right leg just over three weeks ago.
Bradley was reevaluated by Lakers doctors Saturday and was cleared for full-court practices.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel had called Bradley one of the team’s top defenders, and said the 6-foot-2 guard had been missed even while the Lakers were winning and compiling a 21-3 record, tied for the best with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Avery Bradley has really a one-of-a-kind ability to just set the tone defensively with his tenacity in picking up the ball full court,” Vogel said recently. “And just everybody understands you can’t dribble the basketball around the guy. So I think that just impacts the overall energy of the group, and I think our guys have worked to overcome that.”
Bradley suffered the injury on Nov. 3 against San Antonio when Spurs guard Dejounte Murray unintentionally kicked him.
Bradley left that game with about 6:14 remaining, but he played the next week and a half. But pain in the leg lingered, forcing Bradley to get an MRI on Nov. 15 that revealed the fracture.
During the time Bradley had been playing, the Lakers had the best defensive rating in the NBA with him on the court. Without Bradley, the Lakers had dropped to ninth — although they have improved to the fourth-best defensive rating in the last week.
The Lakers start a five-game trip that takes them to Orlando on Wednesday, Miami on Friday, Atlanta on Saturday, Indiana on Tuesday and Milwaukee on Dec. 19 in a nationally televised game between the league’s top two teams record-wise.
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