USA TODAY Sports
Mike D'Antoni told the media following the Lakers loss to the Celtics that Dwight Howard had been cleared to play for a while.
Dwight Howard's injured shoulder is turning into a storyline of its own. Mike D'Antoni told the media after the Lakers' 116-95 loss to the Boston Celtics that Howard had been cleared to return to action for awhile but decided to return on Thursday night.
For more on Dwight Howard and the Lakers, visit Silver Screen and Roll
Howard sat out the previous three games with the shoulder injury that has hampered him for much of the season. He has came under fire of late mostly from teammate Kobe Bryant who seems to be urging the free agent to be to hurry back on the court. The Lakers' situation is dire as they are 3.5 games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot with a 23-27 record.
Complicating things further is the recent injury to Pau Gasol that is expected to sideline him for about six weeks, which is putting even more pressure on Howard to get back on the court and produce. As D'Antoni seems to be suggesting, the doctors are fine with Howard playing but it is up to the center to decide just how much pain he can tolerate.
Howard played just over 28 minutes against the Celtics before fouling out and finished with nine points and nine rebounds. He is averaging 16.5 points and 11.9 rebounds in 43 games for the Lakers this season.