As he ran up and down the court, fighting for post position as he arrived at each end, it appeared Dwight Howard mimicked the Big Bad Wolf in the "Three Little Pigs" during a recent workout.
The Lakers center huffed as he performed numerous side-to-side sprints after post-up drills. Howard puffed after each exercise as he fought fatigue. He blew the house down as he made an array of hook shots and dunks against second-round draft pick Robert Sacre and former UC Santa Barbara product Greg Simogyi.
Still, Howard is not finished rehabbing his back. He won't appear in the Lakers' preseason game against the Utah Jazz on Saturday at Staples Center because he doesn't feel 100% healthy. Reaching that benchmark entails ensuring his conditioning peaks for one simple reason.
"I don't want to go out there because once you're fatigued, that's when injuries start to come into play," Howard said of wanting to improve his conditioning. "Right now the biggest thing is to make sure that I'm in great shape. I don't want to go out there, get tired and then reinjure myself with some other part of my body."