Dwight Howard Reportedly Preparing to Play in Lakers Opener

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2012

EL SEGUNDO, CA - AUGUST 10:  Dwight Howard shows his new jersey after being introduced to the media as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers during a news conference at the Toyota Sports Center on August 10, 2012 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers aquired Howard from Orlando Magic in a four-team trade. In addition Lakers wil receive Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from the Magic.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

NBA fans have wondered when Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard would be ready to play after having season-ending back surgery last year.

The latest report from Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the center targeting opening night as his return date.

The Lakers open the season against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 30 at the Staples Center, and nothing would sell the start of their new year like an appearance and start from their newest acquisition.

Wojnarowski reports that Howard is saying privately that his progress has been outstanding so far, claiming "his back has returned to 85 percent strength."

Los Angeles hasn’t said much about Howard’s timetable, but it is safe to say the organization will be playing this situation close to the vest in hopes of protecting its huge investment.

With so many new pieces in place, it is imperative that the team gets as many games together as possible so they can build an early rapport. If the Lakers want a chance at NBA championship glory, they need Howard to get healthy and stay that way all season.

The 26-year-old star had surgery on a herniated disc in April, and he missed the remainder of the regular season and Orlando’s run into the playoffs. Howard was traded to the Lakers after one of the worst contract disputes in NBA history.

Once the dust settled, the star center found his way to Hollywood in a four-player trade; not a bad deal for the Lakers.

Now they just need him healthy.


Check back for more on the National Basketball Association as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NBA page to get your fill of all things basketball.