"We lose our defensive captain, really," said Rivers. "It takes away the ability to put Rondo on different guys to give him a rest at times. To ask Rondo to do that and run the team is very difficult."
Rivers said Bradley has an injury to both shoulders, though only the left shoulder has given him chronic problems. Rivers said Bradley's right shoulder is sore from trying to protect the other one.
"The strength just won't return right now," said Rivers. "It's pretty bad. We've got to still keep winning, obviously. He'll play games I think. This is probably how it's going to be from this point on. I think he'll play a game and miss a couple."
The first signs that Bradley might have been unable to go tonight came this morning when he wasn't spotted in the media portion of the team's shootaround. Bradley usually warms up at TD Garden with Rondo and the two Celtics rookies, but he was not on the court a couple of hours before the game. Rivers said that Bradley's status for Game 6 Wednesday is uncertain.
"We're going to focus on tonight and take care of that," said Rivers. "If Avery could play he would play. He wants to play. He just can't."
Rivers said Allen, Keyon Dooling, and Mickael Pietrus would fill in for Bradley. He hoped that Allen would step up the most but called him "limited" as well with an ankle injury.