Kevin Garnett injury: Celtics center could return on Friday

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, and they may get a boost in the near future as Kevin Garnett could return to action soon.

Kevin Garnett has missed seven consecutive games and nine of the last 11 overall, but the Boston Celtics big man may return on Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to a report by Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe. The team announced on March 25 that Garnett was expected to miss two weeks of action due to inflammation in his left ankle. A Friday return for Garnett -- as suggested by a team source to Holmes -- would beat that that projection by a few days, and with the Celtics in the playoff hunt every game matters.

If head coach Doc Rivers knows anything about Garnett's target date for a return, he certainly didn't tip his hand after the team's win over the Pistons on Wednesday night (via Boston.com):

"Yeah, I guess. I don't even know," Rivers said when asked if Garnett would play this week. "Honestly, I haven't asked one question about it."

"Whatever it is, it's probably coming up and he'll play," Rivers said of Garnett's timeframe for a possible return.

Boston currently holds a 2.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks own the head-to-head tiebreaker, but they will play five of their final eight games against plus-.500 teams and six of those eight contests on the road. The Celtics are two games behind the Chicago Bulls for the No. 6 seed, but Chicago has an edge in terms of a tiebreaker.

Jeff Green has stepped up in Garnett's absence, so be sure to check CelticsBlog for more on Green's big scoring surge.

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