So much for Dwight Howard missing a significant chunk of the remaining schedule. Just a few days after Kevin McHale said that Houston’s All-Star center wouldn’t “be back anytime soon,” Howard told reporters that he hopes to play on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.
Dwight Howard said hopes to play on Saturday.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 10, 2014
Howard made the comments before his 16-4 squad faces the league-leading Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday night. The former Defensive Player of the Year also missed the season’s first matchup between these two powers, a 98-87 Warriors road win early last month.
The Rockets have gone 7-2 since Howard was sidelined with knee pain before their victoory over the Los Angeles Lakers on November 19. They’ve been impressively stingy in his (and Patrick Beverley’s) absence, allowing just 99.1 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would rank fourth in basketball over the long-haul.
It was inevitable that a player with Howard’s checkered injury history would miss a somewhat significant chunk of the season. Should he be sidelined for a similar length of time going forward, Houston now knows it can play near-elite basketball while waiting for Howard to recover – an ever-important confidence in the loaded Western Conference playoff race.
What do you think?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.