Dwight Howard injury: Labrum not fully torn, Lakers star could be back in a week

USA TODAY Sports

The news out of Los Angeles went from terrible to marginally bad with the latest update on D12.

Dwight Howard's latest shoulder injury may not be as bad as originally thought, according to Los Angeles Lakers beat writer Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.

After initial reports cited a torn labrum in his shoulder, the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year said there is no tear and that the bone is only separated from the labrum.

Howard suffered the injury during Friday night's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and re-aggravated it during Sunday night's loss to the Denver Nuggets, but continued to play through it.

Despite all of that, his absence from the lineup is seen as precautionary and he has a strong chance at playing as early as next week. The Lakers suffered mightily without his inside presence on Tuesday in a 125-112 loss to the Houston Rockets.

In 33 games in the 2012-13 season, Howard is averaging 17.3 points and 12.4 rebounds per game while playing an average of 36.2 minutes. He's had to adjust to a new coaching system that has him playing for long stretches without the ball and in pick-and-roll situations away from the basket on a more frequent basis.

The Lakers will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday when they return from the short two-game road trip that ends on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.

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