Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will have a minutes restriction when he returns to action after missing the last 23 games with swelling in his knee.
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Howard revealed on Wednesday that he is getting close to making his return but that he expects to play around 20 to 25 minutes per game until he can improve his conditioning.
In addition, the towering center will not play in back-to-backs in order to avoid the risk of putting too much stress on his knee after such a lengthy absence.
The 29-year-old didn’t reveal when he could make his comeback but it is expected to be in the coming weeks as he looks to get some vital playing time before the playoffs start.
“Pretty close, pretty close. I can’t wait to get back on the floor,” Howard said, according to ESPN.
“It sucks being injured and trying to come back from an injury. When people see you they say, ‘Oh he looks good,’ and sometimes they don’t understand the whole process. I’m happy the rehab process is almost over with and I can get back on the floor and join my team.”
Howard returned to practice for the first time on Monday and then took two days off to rest his knee and receive treatment as he continues to be bothered by the issue.
He insisted that he will return when his body is healthy and allows him to play consistently without setbacks, as ultimately he wants to avoid a scenario where the swelling returns and he sits out the playoffs.
The Rockets have done impressively well without him as they remain in third spot in the Western Conference, but with Howard averaging 16. 3 points and 11 rebounds per game this season, he will be a vital piece to add to the roster in the post-season.