Dwight Howard, who had back surgery last April, participated in the Los Angeles Lakers' first practice without limitation on Tuesday, ESPNLosAngeles.com reported. Although the Lakers already have said Howard will not play in the team's preseason opener on Oct. 7, Howard said he wants to play in one or two exhibition games before the regular season begins on Oct. 30. "Hopefully, I'll be back for some preseason games," Howard said, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I think we're going to need it for chemistry and all that stuff. But, like I said, I'm not going to rush it. I'm going to continue to practice. We've had some great practices. Today was really good, so I'm happy." Tuesday's practice session was closed to the media, but a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com that Howard's level of play was "unbelievable." "He was dunking everything in sight," the source said. "He looks like he can play in an NBA game today." Lakers forward Pau Gasol said, "He worked just as much as everybody else, so that was good. I didn't expect that to happen today." Lakers coach Mike Brown said Howard had been working out six days a week at the practice facility the past month. Brown said the decision as to when Howard will play in a game will be up to the Lakers' training staff. "All I know is that we had a great practice today," Howard said. "I don't know the date when I'm going to return, but I'm looking forward to (Wednesday's) practice to see how my body feels when I wake up."
- Dwight Howard