Howard suffered a bruised left knee that limited him to 26 minutes during the Rockets' 110-106 loss in Game 1 on Monday night. He is expected to have an MRI on Tuesday, a source said. Howard described the injury as "nothing major" and said he expects to play in Game 2 against the Warriors on Thursday night.
"Hopefully, I can play," said Howard, who had seven points and 13 rebounds. "I will get some rest and come back."
Howard was injured midway through the first quarter when he collided with teammate Josh Smith. Howard departed with 5:50 left in the first quarter and returned at the 1:26 mark after testing his knee by jogging on the baseline. He played about nine minutes in each of the next two quarters, but departed for good after playing 51 seconds in the fourth quarter.
Howard missed 41 games this season largely because of problems with his right knee.
"Josh was trying to go up for a shot and rammed into the side of my knee," Howard said. "From there on, it was bothering me the whole game. I really couldn't run, jump or do anything. It's a disappointing loss."
If Howard can't play, the Rockets might have to turn to rookie center Clint Capela as their starter. Capela, who also played in the D-League this season, had nine points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field and four rebounds in 13 minutes.
"I am just trying to help the team with all my qualities," Capela said. "Run the floor, protect the basket, rebound, finish under the rim and block shots. If Dwight is not there, I got to do that."