Howard played 29 minutes in his first game back, scoring 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting. He added six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal to his line, as the Rockets won, 111-104.
Given how much trouble Howard had getting past this injury, the Rockets might limit him some in the season's final few games. With just two games left on the schedule, Howard is averaging 18.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in 69 games.
Howard remains day to day and is expected to return at some point before the playoffs. Houston has just four games left on the schedule, beginning Friday in Minnesota.
Howard has now missed seven of the team's last nine games due to the ailment, but has shown signs of improvement. He told Comcast SportsNet Houston on Sunday that all he can do is "some little ankle moves, do some pull work, run on the treadmill." He's expected to ramp up his workouts in the next couple of days, but will take a cautious approach in his recover, leaving his status up in the air for Tuesday against the Lakers at Staples Center.
"It's day to day. I don't have a certain day I want to be back," Howard said. "I just want to make sure that I'm healthy for the playoffs; that's the biggest thing. I don't want to play again right now and hurt it and have to sit out some more games. We're going to need each other for the playoffs. I think myself and Pat, our goal is that we're 100 percent for the playoffs."
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