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Dwight Howard may not play Tuesday for Lakers vs. Nets

Feb 4, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

The Lakers defense in the paint is noticeably better when Dwight Howard is on the court (think back to what Phoenix did with their comeback after he went down). They particularly need his presence Tuesday night when the Lakers take on the Brooklyn Nets and All-Star Brook Lopez, who has been a force this season.

But they may not have him.

Howard aggravated his torn labrum against Phoenix and went back to Los Angeles after the game for PRP blood therapy to help speed the healing process. He wanted to play Tuesday but he very well may not be ready to go, the man himself told Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.

“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….

“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.”

Thing is, Howard is going to get hit again.

Howard has a habit of getting a rebound or pass inside, bringing the ball down to waist level then going back up for a powerful jam. With his terrible free throw shooting teams are going to foul him when he brings the ball down, and you will see repeats of what happened in Phoenix — he brought the ball down, as he tried to go up he was fouled across the arms, but that foul stopping the motion of his arms puts pressure on the shoulder.

The Lakers are in the middle of a crucial stretch this season, their seven game “Grammy” road trip. So far they are 2-1 but have some tough tests head. Starting Tuesday.

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