Dwight Howard is expected to play for the Lakers against Detroit on Sunday… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Center Dwight Howard is expected to play for the Lakers on Sunday against Detroit after making a quick trip to Los Angeles for a minor shoulder procedure.
"He's going to give it a go," said a person familiar with the situation but unauthorized to comment publicly.
Howard missed the Lakers' 111-100 victory Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves so he could return home for a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment in his right shoulder.
But will the still-evolving science work? Howard and the Lakers obviously hoped so, though it apparently was of little help to another Lakers player last month.
"I really didn't feel the effects of it," said reserve guard Steve Blake, who had PRP injections to try to heal a groin injury. "They said it varies person to person. Some people do, some people don't. It's obviously hurting [Howard]. He's a big strong guy. He takes a lot of hard hits. He plays through a lot of it. Sometimes it comes to a point where it's hard to play through things."
Howard has sat out four games because of a torn labrum in his shoulder and left two others, including Wednesday's 92-86 loss to Phoenix. The PRP injections are meant to stimulate healing and growth in the afflicted area.
Blake wasn't surprised that Howard planned to return Sunday from the relatively non-invasive procedure in which a small amount of blood was drawn from the shoulder, spun in a centrifuge for about 20 minutes and reinjected into the shoulder after concentrated platelets were isolated.
"It's different from other shots because sometimes a cortisone shot can weaken the tendons or whatever it is wherever you're getting it," Blake said. "From what I know, PRP doesn't really do that, so that's why you can play right after getting the shots. You're not going to be feeling better just because you got the shot two days ago. You might not feel the effects for seven to 10 days, possibly two weeks."
The Lakers (21-26) need Howard to feel the effects immediately. They are 1-1 on their seven-game Grammy trip and only 6-16 on the road this season.
Oh so close
Kobe Bryant's new share-the-ball philosophy hasn't just empowered his teammates. It's enriched his stats.
Bryant has barely missed triple-doubles in four of the five games when he's been a passer.
Rebounds are the main reason he hasn't reached his 19th career triple-double. He had double digits in points and assists but was one rebound shy against Utah and Oklahoma City. He was two rebounds short against New Orleans.
"I'm in there with a bunch of trees. I'm not the tallest guy in the world," the 6-foot-6 Bryant said Saturday. "Sometimes it's just kind of luck of the bounce."
He actually had enough points (17) and rebounds (12) Friday against Minnesota but had only eight assists.
Of Bryant's five-game run, Friday's effort was the most balanced with backcourt mate Steve Nash, who also had 17 points and added seven assists.
"You don't want to lose one or the other. You don't want one doing too much — it's kind of 'find the balance,'" Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Some games it'll be lopsided but then you go back to the drawing board and try to get them both involved. They'll figure it out."
It's always a big deal when Metta World Peace returns to the scene of the Palace brawl. Not everybody, though, remembers where they were when the former Ron Artest went after fans in the stands and on the court in November 2004.
"I was probably in Europe somewhere, drinking wine. Kind of hazy back then," D'Antoni said jokingly. "I don't really know. It's not like Kennedy got assassinated. I know where I was for that one."
D'Antoni was actually in his second season as coach of the Phoenix Suns in 2004.