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Howard (shoulder) questionable for Lakers-Nets on Tuesday

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

'I once had a midseason absence THIS big.' (Getty Images)

Fom the Orange County Register:

Lakers center Dwight Howard decided not to play Sunday in Detroit with lingering pain in his right shoulder, and he wasn't sure he'd return Tuesday in Brooklyn either.

“It feels a little bit better, but still sore,” Howard said Sunday. “Certain movements hurt, and I don't want to go there in any pain or go out there thinking about it too much.”

Howard aggravated the torn labrum Wednesday in Phoenix. It wasn't the first time, and the pain fades after each aggravation, but Howard remains leery of another incident.

“It's still not there yet,” he said. “I'm not going to try to rush myself back and have the possibility of hurting it again. There's no need for that.”

(via Dwight Howard (shoulder) not playing in Detroit - Lakers blog : The Orange County Register)

It's true that Howard needs to not suffer another injury. But we are officially in "these games matter" mode. It's one thing for Chris Paul to be patient with his knee with the Clippers enjoying a cushion between them and the fifth seed; it's another for the Lakers, who will need some help just to make the playoffs. Howard needs to make sure he doesn't re-injure himself. That is priority No. 1.

But this team nearly blew a lead to Detroit, after nearly blowing a lead to Minnesota. The Lakers are still winning, but that margin of error is pretty tiny with Howard out.

Now the Lakers kick off a week that features games against three playoff teams in six days: Brooklyn, Boston and Miami. They'll play all three on the road, with a back-to-back vs. Charlotte mixed in.


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