It’s been little over a month since we last saw Kevin Love suit up for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but according to the team’s general manager, David Griffin, Love’s absence should be coming to an end soon. Speaking to the media Tuesday before the Cavaliers take on the Detroit Pistons, Griffin told reporters he expects Love to return to action next week. 

Joe Vardon of also noted that Love was participating in a 3-on-3 scrimmage during Tuesday’s practice. Love was originally expected to be out six weeks, so a return sometime next week would be a bit ahead of schedule. 

While the Cavs certainly won’t want to rush him back, his return will be well received by a team that has struggled in recent weeks. They’re just 2-5 in March, and their lead for the top spot in the Eastern Conference is just two games over the Boston Celtics, who, based on opponents winning percentages, have the easiest schedule down the stretch of any team in the league, and just 2.5 games over the Washington Wizards, who are 7-3 over their last 10 games, and playing some of the best basketball around. 

And while the Cavs’ offense has been fine since Love went down, their defense has fallen off the table. Never a stellar defensive squad to begin with, the Cavs have the worst defensive rating in the league (113.8 points allowed per 100 possessions) since Love’s injury. 

Once Love returns to the lineup, bringing 20 points and 11 rebounds a night along with him, and helps stabilize the defense, the Cavs should once again be able to assert themselves as the class of the Eastern Conference.