In theory, NBA All-Star weekend will give plenty of Lakers time to clear their minds and rest their dinged up bodies.
But not Dwight Howard, and the reasons go beyond his plan to participate in what will be his eighth All-Star appearance despite having a aggravated right shoulder and a surgically repaired back.
“Our team trainers are going to come and we’re going to get a lot of work in while I’m there,” Howard said. “I’m trying to get into better shape. That’s my main goal. All the stuff I’ll be doing, I’ll do just to make sure I get into better shape.”
Howard enters the Lakers’ game tonight against the Clippers at a designated home game at Staples Center averaging 16.2 points and 11.9 rebounds, his lowest marks since the 2005-06 season. Part of that stems from the inevitable dropoff Howard has gone through from Orlando’s focal point to part of the Lakers’ supporting cast. But plenty of it also has to do with his 10-month old surgically repaired back and aggravated labrum in his right shoulder.
Howard has maintained in recent months that his timing, explosiveness and energy level remains significantly limited because of those injuries. In recent days, Howard has worked with strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco on various drills involving medicine balls and explosion drills.
Howard’s conditioning work will make for one busy All-Star weekend, what with his All-Star game appearance and his various marketing gigs with Adidas.
“It’s four days of work, but it’s fun,” Howard said. “I’m going to enjoy the opportunity to see the slam drunk contest, three point contest, enjoy the fans at Jam Session and celebrity game. It’s work but it’s also fun.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org