Different game, same play.
Dwight Howard drove down the middle of the lane ready to go up for a dunk. But his opponent fouled him above his right shoulder, causing him to grimace.
Two days after injuring his rotator cuff in his right shoulder, Howard aggravated it in the Lakers’ 112-105 loss Sunday to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. It proved serious enough that he will have an MRI on Monday morning. The Lakers visit the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
“I would like to play,” said Howard, after posting 14 points and tying for a career-high 23 rebounds. “But I want to make sure my shoulder is good to go. I don’t want to injure myself where I’m out for the season.”
Howard’s shoulder worsened after Denver guard Andre Miller fouled his shoulder as he drove into the lane as the Lakers trailed 99-88 with 6:28 left in the fourth quarter. After he made his first free throw attempt, Howard stretched his arm to prevent it from tightening. He repeated that routine after missing his second foul shot.
Howard first injured his shoulder in the Lakers’ 107-102 loss Friday to the Clippers after driving into the lane on a similar play where Clippers guard Caron Butler made contact with his shoulder.
“It wasn’t as bad as last game,” Howard said. “I don’t want to injure it to the point where I can’t play.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org