HOUSTON — Despite a right shoulder injury that will sideline him for at least a week, Lakers center Dwight Howard remained in his jovial spirits.
He eagerly cited Chinese to a foreign television reporter. Howard jokingly tried on a reporter’s jacket after insisting he couldn’t sit on the bench because he hadn’t packed any suits, believing he’d be fine enough to play. He shared various stories about his trips to China.
But Howard wanted to make one thing clear. He said the labrum in his right shoulder is separated and not torn, contrary to what the Lakers initially reported following his MRI on Monday.
“They don’t want me to continue to aggravate it or anything,” Howard said before the Lakers-Rockets game here at Toyota Center. “That could cause a lot of problems later on in the season.”
Howard traveled with the Lakers on their two-game trip to Houston tonight and San Antonio on Wednesday so could work with the Lakers’ training staff on his shoulder, which entails icing and electronic stimulation. The Lakers will reevaluate him next week, but Howard refused to predict when he will return.
“I’m not going to put a time table on that,” Howard said. “Hopefully within a week, I’ll have enough strength so when they test it again, Ill be in good shape.”
That means Howard will also sit out in the Lakers next two home games, including Oklahoma City (Friday) and Cleveland (Sunday).
Howard’s shoulder worsened when the Lakers’ loss Sunday to Denver after Nuggets guard Andre Miller made contact with his shoulder as he drove into the lane. Howard’s injury stemmed from a similar play in the Lakers’ loss Friday to the Clippers involving guard Caron Butler.
Howard had back surgery in April, and his explosiveness has noticeably dropped since then. Howard has averaged 17.3 points per game and 12.4 rebounds, his lowest marks since the 2006-07 season.
“I don’t want to play with pain,” Howard said. “When you’re games, you’re on adrenalin and you don’t feel it that much. The more and more you aggravate it, the worse it gets. I just don’t want to get it bad to where later on in the season something happens where I’m going up, somebody fouls me hard and then I have to have surgery. I don’t want to have any more surgeries.”
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