Report: Metta World Peace Could Return as Early as Next Weekend

Metta World Peace's knee injury was expected to keep him out well into the playoffs, but he is reportedly healing at a miraculous rate and the Lakers forward could be ready to go as early as next weekend.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register says that World Peace is running at nearly 100 percent and has already started shooting.

Rather amazingly, @mettaworldpeace (knee) could play one week from today vs. Spurs. Lakers need defense, and ...…

— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) April 7, 2013 Suffering a torn lateral meniscus against the Golden State Warriors on March 25, World Peace underwent successful surgery on his left knee on March 28, with the timetable for recovery set at a minimum of six weeks. That would have put him on track for a May 9 return.

With the playoffs starting on April 20, and the second round starting no later than May 7, that would mean the Lakers would need to make the playoffs and take down either the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs in the first round in order to see Metta's return.

Now it seems that he could be back for Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors. More realistically, however, he'll suit up for the Lakers' April 14 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.

That would give L.A. a complete(ish) team should they end up making the playoffs (they still won't have Jordan Hill, while Steve Nash should be back by that point).

The game in which World Peace was hurt against the Warriors was just the seventh time the Lakers had their optimal starting lineup together for the entire season.

Sure, the quintet of Nash, Kobe Bryant, World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard have lost all seven of those games they were featured starters together, but it's still the best lineup Mike D'Antoni can put on the floor.

Even if they aren't all starting together, World Peace adds an unde...

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