Dwight Howard “more explosive”, expects to be back in two weeks
The Houston Rockets have been without Dwight Howard since January due to problems in his right knee. His timeline for return has been up in the air thus far, but Howard gave the latest on his recovery on Wednesday night:
Dwight Howard, who hasn’t played since Jan. 30 because of edema in his right knee, expects to be back in two weeks, he told ESPN’s Lisa Salters on Wednesday.
The Rockets have stayed in the top four in the Western Conference with a 43-21 record, much to the credit of MVP candidate James Harden. But others have stepped up for Houston as well, including newcomer Josh Smith, Terrence Jones since returning from his injury, and guys like Patrick Beverly and Jason Terry.
More from Howard on his rehab, from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
“Every workout has been super tough,” Howard said. “They have been trying to push me to the extreme so that I will be better than being in game shape. I will be in better shape than that. They are trying to test my limits to see how far I can go each day.
“I won’t let anything hold me back. I’ve been injured before. I’ve had worse injuries than this. I’m going to continue to work hard. I just look forward to getting back on the floor to dominate.”
“I’m a little bit more explosive right now,” Howard said. “They’ve been working on my conditioning a lot, too. All season long, I’ve been battling back from an injury. It was tough for me to stay in shape and also play at a high level.
“This time, I think they took the necessary steps to make sure I won’t reinjure my leg. They’ve been working on my full body – back, legs, whatever may cause any weaknesses in my body.”
From Rockets head coach Kevin McHale:
“He’s getting closer,” McHale said. “All the treadmilling and cone running is a great start, but you have to play basketball, which is changing directions not (directed) by cones but by people, getting hit, getting pushed. You can’t replicate any of those stresses that you get in NBA games. The big thing for Dwight will be getting him on the floor and getting him more comfortable with that.”
The Rockets are one of several Western Conference teams that can make a legitimate push in the postseason. Though they’ve held up without Dwight, they need his presence as a ball screener, rebounder, and paint protector. Harden and Howard are the Rockets’ two best players. Without both of them healthy and confident on the floor, the ceiling for this team just isn’t as high.