For the first time since Kevin Garnett went on the shelf with a hyperextended right knee, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers indicated a possible date for Garnett's return.
Rivers said before Thursday's meeting with Chicago that Garnett — who has missed seven straight games — could return Friday when the Celtics host Portland.
"There is an outside chance that that could be the return game," Rivers said, before stressing that it remains very up in the air. "Outside chance, but there is a chance."
Garnett began exercising on the knee earlier this week after a prolonged stretch of inactivity. Rivers said he hopes his All-Star forward can practice with the team early next week.
"I'm just glad that he's running," Rivers said. "We'll have a couple of practices next week where we will see if he can get on the floor with us."
Garnett, who missed 25 games last season with right knee ailments, suffered his injury against Golden State on Dec. 28.
Rasheed Wallace was also unavailable for the third straight game Thursday due to a sore left foot. Rivers said he could be back Monday against Dallas or Wednesday at Detroit.