Despite nursing an aggravated labrum in his right shoulder that prompted him to sit out of two games last week, Lakers center Dwight Howard plans to play Saturday in the 2013 NBA All-Star game in Houston.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni remains fine with it.
“I don’t think it matters,” he said. “That’s his call. Whatever he feels. I think he feels good. I think it’s a good experience for guys. I wouldn’t recommend him sitting out. It’s not that taxing. I don’t think it will hurt him in any way so whatever he feels he needs to do.”
Howard told reporters on Monday that he will play in what will be his eighth All-Star game assuming he’s doesn’t aggravate his shoulder any more. The Lakers host the Phoenix Suns tonight at Staples Center and then play the Clippers Thursday in a designated home game.
Nonetheless, Howard has suggested in recent days that opponents are increasingly targeting his shoulder. D’Antoni believes it hasn’t increased in recent games, though Howard’s position inevitably draws contact.
“He can manage it,” D’Antoni said. “But when he gets hit, he’s going to get hurt again. You never know what’s going to happen. He’s fine until that happens.”
Howard has averaged only 16.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, his lowest marks since the 2005-06 campaign when he played with the Orlando Magic in his second NBA season. His scoring output ranks fifth overall among NBA centers while his rebounding leads the league among centers.
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