By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Jayson Tatum’s return to the Celtics is coming soon to a basketball court near you. Boston could have their star player back in the lineup as soon as Friday night in Philadelphia, head coach Brad Stevens said Wednesday.

Tatum is in the final stages of returning from his bout with COVID-19, and after two weeks away from the court, was eligible to return to basketball activities on Wednesday.

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“Jayson was able to go do his testing and everything else — all the physiological testing you have to do — yesterday, so he’ll be able to be on the court in Boston a little bit today,” Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday.

Tatum is not with his teammates as they get set to face the 76ers on Wednesday night, but Stevens said it’s possible that his rising superstar could be back for Friday night’s game in Philadelphia. That, however, is no guarantee.

“I think that there would be a chance that he would join us for Friday,” said Stevens. “But I would say, at best, that’s 50-50.”

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And when Tatum does return, Stevens said not to expect the same Tatum that we saw before his two-week absence, the one who was averaging 26.9 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Celtics.

“He hasn’t done anything for two weeks. We’re not allowed to have him do anything and he’s not supposed to do anything active,” explained Stevens. “So you have to ramp him back up in some ways. I don’t think it’s prudent to play a guy several games in a row for 35 minutes per game if he’s been inactive for a couple weeks.”

Just a few days after he reportedly tested positive, Tatum was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 33 points and 5.3 rebounds, leading the Celtics to a 3-0 record the week prior.

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After wrapping up a two-game set with the 76ers on Friday, the Celtics return home to Boston for a Sunday evening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Staff