Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard has been sitting out back-to-backs this season thanks to a variety of injury problems (back, shoulder, knee) that have plagued him in recent years, but the big man is now ready to participate in those back-to-back games, according to ESPN’s Calvin Watkins.
Howard said Wednesday he’ll play against both the New York Knicks on Sunday and Detroit Pistons on Monday. However, he’ll be on a minutes limit in those games as he gets his conditioning back:
“They want to make sure I don’t kill myself in both games,” said Howard, who is averaging 13.8 points and 13.6 rebounds per game in nine contests. “So maybe 20 to 25 minutes each night until the season gets better. Right now the main thing is making sure I stay in shape, stay strong and healthy and trust my body.”
This is good news for a Rockets team that’s in desperate need of a turnaround. Houston is 5-9 this year and has already fired a head coach, and the porous defense needs the presence of Howard as much as possible, even if he’s not the dominant force he once was.
The Rockets also need more out of Howard on offense. While he’s shooting 62.5 percent from the field, he’s taking less than nine shots per game and not getting to the free throw line nearly as much as he used to. This doesn’t necessarily mean Houston should run more post-ups for Howard because he’s not that good on the block, but he needs to make more of a positive impact.