Shawn Marion says he'll play Friday

DALLAS -- Mavericks forward Shawn Marion declared himself ready to return after missing the last eight games due to a strained left calf.

Marion, who participated in the Mavs' practice Thursday, will play in Friday night's home game against the Boston Celtics.

"It's feeling a lot better," Marion said. "I still feel a little bit [of soreness], but it's not enough to hold me back. I'm able to do a little bit more things and put some pressure on it."

The Mavs went 5-3 during Marion's absence, but he was sorely missed in the three losses, with Dallas getting outrebounded by a double-digit margin in each game. Marion, who starts at small forward and plays significant minutes at power forward, leads the Mavs with 7.9 rebounds per game in addition to averaging 11.7 points and being Dallas' best defender.

Marion returns to a team that must finish the season with a flurry of wins to extend the Mavs' postseason streak to 13 years. Dallas, which has 14 games left on the schedule, is 3½ games behind the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference standings.

"I'm ready to go," said Marion, who, along with Dirk Nowitzki, are the only members of the 2011 title team remaining on the Mavs' active roster.