Dwight Howard hopeful of playing in an exhibition game

After he joined his teammates for all of their drills on the opening day of the Lakers’ training camp, center Dwight Howard said he was hopeful of playing in at least one exhibition game before the regular season begins Oct. 30. Howard hasn’t been cleared to participate in a full-contact scrimmage after undergoing back surgery in April. The Lakers did not scrimmage during a nearly four-hour workout. Howard declined to place a percentage on his back for the second consecutive day.

The Lakers’ first exhibition is Sunday against the Warriors in Fresno, but the team has already ruled him out of that game.

“I don’t know the date when I’m going to return, but I’m looking forward to (today’s) practice to see how my body feels when I wake up,” Howard said. “We can only go by time right now and how I feel after practice. We’re not in a rush. These guys need me for the whole season and not a couple of preseason games.”

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