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Dwight Howard to make Lakers debut

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LOS ANGELES – Six months after undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disk, Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard has been cleared to make his preseason debut against Sacramento Sunday night at Staples Center, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

After Howard participated in practice on Saturday and a Sunday morning shootaround, sources said Lakers trainer Gary Vitti cleared Howard to play.

Howard will step onto the floor with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, a lineup that's expected to be a devastating force in the NBA this season.

Hours before Sunday's game with the Kings, Lakers coach Mike Brown and Howard both said the center's debut was still a "game-time decision," but the organization and Howard had been targeting Sunday for several days for him to make his debut, sources said.

[Related: LeBron James dismisses talk of Lakers' potential 2014 interest]

If Howard has no setbacks on Sunday night against the Kings, he will likely play again on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers or Thursday against the Kings, sources said. The Lakers don't want him to play back-to-back games in the preseason.

The Lakers open the season Oct. 30 against the Dallas Mavericks.

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