Dwight Howard shut down from basketball activities, likely to ramp up rehab next week

Chase Hughes
NBC Sports Washington

After getting a second opinion, a new diagnosis and a pain injection, Wizards center Dwight Howard is expected to return to the court for light training work as early as Monday.

That is according to head coach Scott Brooks, who said Howard has been shut down from basketball activities since experiencing a setback on Oct. 6.

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Howard, 32, saw a specialist in New York and learned his injury was specifically located in his piriformis muscle. 

"He's been resting and getting treatment the last few days," Brooks said.

Howard, who signed a two-year free agent deal with the Wizards in July, has yet to practice with his new team. The injury was discovered before training camp began and was first believed to be located in his back.

If Howard takes the court on Monday, likely to begin with some light shooting drills, that would give him only three days before the Wizards open their season on Oct. 18 against the Miami Heat. At this point, he is almost certain to be out for that game.

The Wizards have a quirk in their schedule that could affect Howard's recovery timeline. After playing the Heat and then the Raptors at home on Oct. 20, they go on a five-game Western Conference road trip beginning in Portland on Oct. 22. The travel will limit their practice time, and injured players often do not fly with the team on the road.

Though Howard does not appear very close to returning, Brooks reiterated the Wizards plan to take their time.

"We're in no rush. It's a long season and we would love to have him," Brooks said.


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