Los Angeles Lakers star center Dwight Howard will not play in Friday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after aggravating the torn labrum in his right shoulder in the Lakers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
Howard was evaluated in Minneapolis by Lakers trainer Gary Vitti on Thursday and had been listed as day to day.
Howard suffered the injury midway through the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 92-86 loss. The seven-time All-Star fell to the floor in pain after being blocked by Suns guard Shannon Brown with 6:57 remaining in the contest.
Howard checked out of the game and did not return as the Lakers squandered a 13-point lead. After icing his shoulder and applying kinesiology tape to the joint, Howard told reporters he was “real sore” and “hurting pretty bad.”
Although he acknowledged Wednesday that he may have to rest his shoulder, Howard had said he wanted to try to play against the Wolves.
“I’m going to try as much as I can, but I don’t want to cause more damage to my shoulder,” Howard said. “I don’t want to (miss any games), but we’ll see.”
When asked whether he would have to consider surgery to repair his shoulder, Howard replied, “Not right now.”
The 6-foot-11 Howard originally injured his shoulder on Jan. 4 against the Los Angeles Clippers and was forced to miss three games. He aggravated the injury last week against the Memphis Grizzlies and sat out the remainder of that contest, but did not miss any subsequent games.
Kobe Bryant said Wednesday that he has played through shoulder injuries in the past, and it will be an adjustment that Howard has to make.
“I’m not worried about it,” Bryant said. “It is going to be an all-season thing. That’s how those types of injuries are with the labrum. I’ve had them before. … It’s one of those things when you get banged like that going up, you’re going to get that stinging sensation. That’s just how it’s going to be.”