The Los Angeles Lakers announced that All-Star center Dwight Howard has received clearance for full-contact practices. Howard's minutes will be limited as he ramps up his participation in five-on-five scrimmages.
Howard, 26, underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in April that ended his 2011-12 season with the Orlando Magic. This summer, he was the centerpiece of a four-team blockbuster trade that landed him with the Lakers. He has participated in drill work with the Lakers' coaching staff during training camp but did not play in L.A.'s preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
The Lakers will continue their preseason action against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night in Ontario, Calif. Howard will not play. The Lakers open their 2012-13 regular season against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on Oct. 30. Howard is aiming to play in the opener.
Howard averaged 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals in 38.3 minutes per game for the Magic last season.
As Howard seems to be making his way back from injury, the team announced on Monday that reserve big man Jordan Hill would miss some time during the preseason with a herniated disk in his back.