Dwight Howard joins the Lakers for a game of 5-on-5-on-5

Lakers center Dwight Howard still hasn’t been cleared to play in a five-on-five scrimmage, but he did participate in their practice-ending five-on-five-on-five drill Thursday. What’s a five-on-five-on-five drill? Well, it’s two five-on-five halfcourt games at once. The team with the ball keeps possession if it scores, if not the defensive team gets it and heads to the other end of the court to face a third team. The scoring team returns to the other end of the floor and faces the team that’s standing there.

No fastbreaks. No hard running. But plenty of contact.

Howard looked great on a couple of plays around the basket, including one in particular when he grabbed a touch pass from power forward Pau Gasol, went up in traffic and dunked with authority. So far, Howard has had no setbacks as he continues to make progress after undergoing season-ending back surgery last April.

He’s been ruled out of Sunday’s exhibition opener, but vowed to play in some exhibitions before the regular season begins Oct. 30.

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