Howard eyes Sunday return for winless Lakers
by Ellen J. Horrow, USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Howard hopes to make his Los Angeles debut Sunday and it can’t come too soon for the Lakers, who remain winless in the preseason.
The Sacramento Kings edged the Lakers 103-98 Friday night in Las Vegas to drop Los Angeles to 0-5, despite 22 points and six rebounds for Kobe Bryant and 20 points and six rebounds for Pau Gasol. Marcus Thornton scored 19 points, while DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Kings (3-1).
Howard, who had back surgery last April, traveled with the team to Las Vegas, but is still awaiting official clearance from the Lakers medical staff. Howard will practice with the team Saturday and participate in shootaround Sunday morning, but said the decision to play will be made by the medical staff.
“I want to hopefully play in a couple of preseason games, or at least one,” Howard said. “I think it’s very important for myself, for the team. But if the trainers don’t feel like I need to play right now, then I won’t play. There’s no rush.”
The Lakers have three more exhibition games before their Oct. 30 season opener against the Dallas Mavericks: Sunday against the Kings at Staples Center; Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center; and Thursday against the Kings in San Diego.
“I know I’m going to be a little rusty; I haven’t played in so long,” Howard said. “It’s going to be a little different, but I’m looking forward to it. Once I get my first dunk or my first block, everything will be OK.”
Contributing: The Associated Press