Lakers center Dwight Howard dunking against the Utah Jazz last month. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Lakers center Dwight Howard will not play Sunday against Detroit because his right shoulder still hurts.
Howard said he didn't want to rush back and possibly aggravate a torn labrum in his shoulder.
"I don't want to be in a situation like last year where I was having problems the whole year, didn't want to sit, tried to play as much as I can and then really end up injuring myself," said Howard, who had a herniated disk while playing for Orlando that eventually required season-ending back surgery. "I don't want to have this happen every week or two to where I'm fine and then I take a hard hit and I reaggravate it."
Howard said his shoulder felt stiff after he underwent a minor procedure Saturday in Los Angeles. He flew to Detroit later in the day to rejoin the team but felt uneasy about practicing Sunday. Certain actions bother him, such as raising his shoulder, "a lot of movements that I'd be doing in games, trying to block shots, stuff like that."
"I don't want to go out there in any pain or go out there thinking about it too much," he said.
Howard will miss his fifth game because of the shoulder. He left two others after aggravating it, including last Wednesday's loss to Phoenix.
Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni was on the bus ride from the team hotel to the arena when he found out Howard would not be active against Detroit.
"As soon as the pain goes away, he'll play," D'Antoni said. "Hopefully that's the next game but there's no guarantees. It's just a day-to-day. It is his call. It totally is. Because he's the only one that feels the pain."
The Lakers' next game after Sunday is Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Howard underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy Saturday, a relatively non-invasive procedure in which a small amount of blood is drawn from body, spun in a centrifuge for about 20 minutes and injected into the injured area after concentrated platelets are isolated.
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