Sources: Growing optimism LeBron James may return for Los Angeles Lakers on Friday vs. Boston Celtics

There's growing optimism that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James -- who has been out two weeks with an abdominal strain -- could make his return against the Boston Celtics on Friday, sources told ESPN.

James has been making good progress, and Friday's meeting with the Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) looms as a target for him to rejoin the Lakers' lineup.

The 36-year-old James has started to resume individual workouts in recent days, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Sunday.

James has missed nine games this season -- including two with a sprained ankle -- and the Lakers are desperate to get him back on a consistent basis. The Lakers begin a five-game trip on Wednesday in Milwaukee against the Bucks.

The Lakers are 8-7 and lost 121-103 on Monday to the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.