BOSTON — Jerryd Bayless burst through a backdoor into the home locker room at TD Garden, panting and sweating through his official Boston Celtics workout shirt.
Bayless, the backup guard who was acquired in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this month, had just finished a grueling trek on the exercise bike. The conditioning will keep him fresh whenever he returns from a sprained big toe he suffered Sunday, but precisely when that return will be is uncertain.
The Celtics could use him back. They are also working without Avery Bradley, their starting two-guard, who was in a protective boot and using crutches after spraining his ankle in Tuesday’s loss to the Miami Heat.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens is left to piece together a workable backcourt rotation over what’s left with Bayless and Bradley’s statuses still indefinite, the coach said before Friday’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Jerryd is still sore, more day-to-day,” Stevens said. “He shot free throws [Friday] at our shootaround, but that’s it. And Avery did not participate in anything.
“Avery looks like he’s still [going to be] out a little bit, whatever that means. I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s two weeks from the date of the injury.”
In Bradley and Bayless’ absence, Stevens has turned to some unlikely candidates to eat up minutes in his backcourt. Gerald Wallace has started two straight games as a nominal shooting guard and was even the backup point guard in Wednesday’s victory over the Washington Wizards. Chris Johnson and Vander Blue, who were signed to 10-day contracts to fill out the bench after two trades thinned out the roster, have been called on early and often in one or both of the last two games.
“It’s a great opportunity for everybody else,” Stevens said. “The last thing you can do is feel sorry for yourself. These guys get right back to work, [head athletic trainer] Ed Lacerte and our training staff do a great job. It’s a great opportunity for the next guys to step in and kind of ‘next man up.’ That’s the way you always have to go about it.”