Dwight Howard had back surgery last April, but he was cleared last week to play 5-on-5 scrimmages. However, the new Lakers' center has not played in a game for Los Angeles. The team is being cautious on their preseason use of Howard, but he may play this Sunday. It would be the first time for Howard to play in a Lakers uniform.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, sources have said Howard could be ready for Sunday's game. Bresnahan pointed out that Howard's back is not necessarily holding him back, but his conditioning may be. Because of the surgery, Howard is behind on his workouts and conditioning. He will also be adjusting to a new team.
"New town, new city, I think everybody's expecting a lot out of this team and they're expecting a lot out of me" he said after practice Thursday. "So I have to make sure I keep all of that out of my mind when I'm playing and just have fun."Howard has spent his entire career with the Orlando Magic, but has been disgruntled for the last two seasons. The Magic finally worked out a trade with the Lakers this past August. It was a blockbuster deal involving four teams. The Lakers hope Howard can provide a more stable low post presence, and bring a little offense with his defense.
Howard has been improving offensively each season. His defense has almost always been there. In his career, Howard is averaging 18.4 points per game in his career and 13.0 rebounds per game. Last season, he upped the points per game to 20.6 and the rebounds to 14.5. Combined with the addition of Steve Nash, the Lakers could be dangerous if Howard is healthy and ready to go this season.