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Dwight Howard plans opening night return from surgery for Lakers

Dwight Howard is expected to play on opening night against the Dallas Mavericks. The newest Los Angeles Laker underwent back surgery in April.

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The newest Los Angeles Lakers big man, Dwight Howard, is aiming for a return to the court in time for their opening night meeting with the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 30, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Howard missed the end of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back, and he has yet to receive clearance from his doctors to begin basketball activities. He has been working with assistant coaches and trainers to get his strength, speed and quickness back.

According to Wojnarowski, Howard is about 85 percent recovered from his surgery. The Lakers have been hesitant to put any kind of timeline on his return. Given the 26-year-old's pristine record of staying healthy prior to the 2011-2012 season, it only makes sense for L.A. to take every precaution with their All-Star center. Los Angeles will enter the upcoming year with high expectations, and they will need their new seven-footer healthy and holding things down in the middle of a very tough Western Conference.