nba

Home > nba

Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Could Dwight Howard Return for the Season Opener?

By Melissa Siegel, Posted: 10/01/12 11:23AM EDT
Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard (Photo : Reuters)

Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers traded for center Dwight Howard in the offseason, fans wondered exactly when they would see their prized offseason acquisition on the court. After all, Howard underwent back surgery last April, and his status for the start of the regular season was in doubt.

But Howard's Lakers debut may come sooner than we all thought.

Like Us on Facebook

Yahoo! Sports reported over the weekend that the center is aiming to return for the team's October 30 season opener against the Dallas Mavericks.

Of course, just because Howard says he wants to play in the opener doesn't mean he actually will. He still has not been cleared to participate in Lakers' training camp, which begins on Tuesday.

But according to Yahoo!, Howard has made great progress in his recovery over the past few weeks, and a return for the season opener is quite possible. The center has shown increased range of motion in his workouts but has not yet faced contact.

Yahoo! also reports that Howard believes his back is currently around 85 percent healed.

Got something to share about Dwight Howard? Contact us at the "tips" email below 

The Lakers coaches and trainers have all of training camp and potentially the preseason to decide whether Howard is fit to play in the season opener. Even if he is not yet fully healthy, Howard at 85 percent is still better than most of the centers in the league.

Still, there is no need for the team to rush Howard back. The Lakers still have plenty of talent without him, and if they bring Howard back before he is ready, he could hurt himself more seriously.

Besides, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash should be able to carry the team through the first few weeks of the season. The Lakers have a relatively easy early schedule and do not play the defending conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder until December 7.

Just nine of the Lakers' 19 games before that matchup with the Thunder come against playoff opponents from a year ago. One of those playoff teams is the Orlando Magic, who are now likely in rebuilding mode without Howard. They also play four games against the bottom three teams in the Western Conference last season: Golden State, Sacramento, and New Orleans.

Of course, it is somewhat hard to judge a team's strength of schedule before the season starts, as every year some opponents are bound to surprise while others disappoint. Still, on paper it looks like the Lakers should be able to do just fine early in the season, even without Howard.

While Howard may want to play in the season opener against the Mavericks, the coaches and trainers should be as cautious as possible when dealing with their star player. After all, they will need him at 100 percent if they want to get past Eastern Conference powerhouses like the Miami Heat.

Hat tip to Pro Basketball Talk.

 

 



© 2016 iSports Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

JOIN A CONVERSATION

Nadal Falls In Marathon U.S. Open Match To Fognini

Rafa Nadal ended a sub-par grand slam season on a heartbreaking note when he fell 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-... more

Federer Faces Danger Match Against Big-Serving Isner

Swiss second seed Roger Federer faces a danger match against big-hitting American John Isner in four... more

Federer Express Aims To Keep Rolling At U.S. Open

The Roger Federer express will look to gather further pace in the third round of the U.S. Open on Sa... more

Australian Hayne Living The American Dream

Jarryd Hayne thanked God in his first tweet after learning that he had made the final roster for the... more

Brady To Suit Up After 'Deflategate' Win; NFL Appeals

Star quarterback Tom Brady will play in the New England Patriots' season opener next week after a fe... more

Tom Brady Says He's Sorry NFL Had To 'Endure' Deflategate Scandal

Star quarterback Tom Brady made his first public comments on Friday since a federal judge threw out ... more

Nadal Falls In Marathon U.S. Open Match To Fognini

Rafa Nadal ended a sub-par grand slam season on a heartbreaking note when he fell 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-... more

Williams, Cilic Survive Scares But No Escape For Nadal

Serena Williams and Marin Cilic both survived third round scares on Friday to keep their U.S. Open t... more