The Indiana Pacers have been handed a potentially huge injury boost, with reports and indeed the player himself suggesting that Danny Granger is targeting Friday's game against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets to make his long-awaited return.
30-year-old Granger, a former 17th-overall pick out of the University of New Mexico who has been with the Pacers franchise for his entire eight-year career to date, has suffered badly with injuries in recent seasons, with the small forward being restricted to just five appearances during the last campaign.
Granger has yet to suit up for the Pacers this season due to a calf problem, but rumours have been circulating that the 2009 All-Star was close to a return to the court for the first time since a preseason clash in October.
At the weekend, Pacers coach Frank Vogel had revealed that the team was targeting a December 20 return, and that certainly seems to be an agreeable date for the player himself.
"We targeted Friday. It's good news. I had a good practice today, I practiced yesterday, I'll (practice) tomorrow," Granger was quoted by USA Today.
"We just want to get some practice under my belt before I'm on the court."
Despite Granger's former importance to the Pacers, his teammates have coped admirably for his prolonged absence.
After last season ended in a heartbreaking defeat to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, Vogel's men have started the new season in strong form and currently boast a 20-3 record following Friday's 99-94 victory over the improving Charlotte Bobcats.
Before they can contemplate that aforementioned tie against the Rockets, however, the Pacers first face a home clash against the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life Fieldhouse before attempting to once again knock off the Heat on Wednesday.