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Doctors clear Dwight Howard for full contact scrimmages

Oct 9, 2012, 5:25 PM EDT

Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol AP

More and more it looks like Dwight Howard will be there when the Lakers open the regular season.

That’s not guaranteed, but doctors have cleared him for full contact, 5-on-5 scrimmages, reports Mike Trudell at the official Lakers site. It’s a big step.

This does not mean Howard has been cleared for games, he is not playing for the Lakers Wednesday against Portland (their next preseason contest).

However, the next step is doctor clearance for a game. And if he is on the doorstep of that now, on Oct. 9, the odds he is ready for an Oct. 30 season opener against Dallas look really good.

If you need a reminder or spent the summer holed up fearing the end of the world like the Mayan predicted (actually, they didn’t), Howard missed the end of last season due to back pain and had surgery to repair the issue in April. He has been in recovery — and forcing his way out of Orlando — since then.

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