On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers took the court for the first time since they were eliminated from last season’s playoffs. One of L.A.’s new additions, however, was not suited up.
Dwight Howard didn’t play in the Lakers first preseason game of 2012. The center sat out the team’s 110-83 loss to the Warriors, and might not play in any exhibition games.
Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers on Aug. 10 in a four-team deal.
When he arrived at training camp last week, Howard remarked that he hoped to play in one or two preseason games. He is still recovering from back surgery that he underwent in April, and there is no timetable for his return. After Sunday’s game, Howard indicated that he might not be ready until the regular season begins.
“I’m on track, but my goal wasn’t to play in a preseason game,” Howard told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. “I’m a hard worker. My back just has to get stronger and I have to get everything that surrounds it stronger too so I can play at a high level. That’s my goal.”
Howard will likely be careful in returning from his surgery. It’s the first serious injury of his career. He only missed seven games in his career, before getting hurt last season.
With Howard on the bench, the Lakers struggled in their first action of the new season. None of the team’s starters played more than 19 minutes, with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol scoring 10 and nine points, respectively. Golden State scored 35 unanswered points in the second half against Los Angeles’ reserves.
Steve Nash played 15 minutes in his L.A. debut. He finished the contest with five points and three assists.
Backup big man Jordan Hill got the bulk of Howard’s minutes. He played 20 minutes and scored 10 points, tying him for the team lead.
The Lakers next game is Wednesday. L.A. will play the Portland Trail Blazers.
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