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Lakers' Dwight Howard (shoulder) leaves game, won't return

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Dwight Howard and the Lakers declared Wednesday's game against the Grizzlies the third beginning of their season. And like the other two seasons, it's not off to a great start.

Via the team, Howard exited the game in the first half after re-aggravating his shoulder and requesting to be removed by Mike D'Antoni. He went to the locker room, where it was determined he would not return to the game.

Howard originally injured the shoulder (torn right labrum) Jan. 4 against the Clippers and sat about a week because of it. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated Thursday in Los Angeles.

In 14 minutes Wednesday against Memphis, Howard was 0-4 from the floor with two rebounds. And this was the game Howard proclaimed, "It starts with me ... I have to bring it."

If Howard is injured for an extended period, the Lakers are going to be in deep trouble as backup big Jordan Hill just underwent season-ending hip surgery this week. Behind Howard is rookie Robert Sacre, and that's it.

Or there's the option to slide Pau Gasol to maybe his more natural position of center. But he's got to get off D'Antoni's bench before that can happen.

The Lakers currently sit at 17-24 on the season, four games out of the eighth seed in the West.

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