McHale confirms: Dwight Howard will return tonight in New Orleans. He will start and be on a minutes restriction. pic.twitter.com/ccwTpDtpNV
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 25, 2015
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale says that Dwight will be limited to approximately 16 minutes in his return after sitting out 26 games.
The big fella hasn’t played since Jan.23 when fluid had built up in his knee—Houston will also be without guard Patrick Beverley, who may be out for the remainder of the season with a left wrist injury.
Per the Houston Chronicle:
“I’m just ready to play,” Howard said. “I haven’t played in a while so any time you miss a lot of games, I’m anxious to get back on the floor and play.”
Howard has been working in drills for weeks, but with the Rockets short on healthy bodies, he has not had the practice time the team had planned before his return. Instead, he will try to work on his game in games. […] “You need to play in the game no matter what you do in the weight room, treadmill, bike, whatever,” Howard said. “There is nothing like playing the game. It’s going to be a little different from what I experienced the past two months, I would say, but I’m up for the challenge.”
“I wish we had more time for him to practice,” McHale said. “We are so beat up. We don’t have a lot of guys but we are getting through the season. He is unfortunately going to have to use the game for some prep time, which is never ideal because it is hard to get game ready by stepping out there. You need practice and everything but he is going to have to do that during the game. […] Nobody takes two months off from the NBA. If you did, then 50-year old guys would play in the NBA. They would lay around and be like, ‘I think I’ll play in the NBA tonight.’ Nobody does that. I don’t care who you are. It takes timing, it takes rhythm. When you are away from the speed of the game, it’s different. It’s like a race car driver – you have to get on the track to figure it out. So you went 70 on the freeway, that’s a lot different than going 100. When you get on the floor, things are so different. It’s just going to take him awhile so we have to be patient.”