Dwight Howard: L.A. Lakers Superstar Wise to Sit out Against Subpar Opponents

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers grimaces as he flexes his ailing shoulder in the game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on January 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  The Nuggets won 112-105.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are without Dwight Howard for the second game in a row on Sunday afternoon, as the big man is sitting out due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

Fortunately, the desperate Lakers are matched up against the mediocre Detroit Pistons and don’t need the superstar on the court as much as they would against one of the top teams in the league.

D12 sat on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a game the team went on to win, 111-100.

Howard has been dealing with these labrum issues since Jan. 4, when he tore the cartilage in a loss to the in-town rival Los Angeles Clippers.

Since then, the center has missed five games and exited two others early due to re-aggravation. Howard isn’t happy with the situation, but—after a saga with chronic back problems in 2011-12—knows it’s the right call to put his health first.

He stated, as per Bresnahan:

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. 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.

It’s an ideal time for D12 to ride the pine and allow his shoulder to heal as much as possible, especially with tough contests against elite squads on the horizon.

Over the next few weeks, the Lakers have matchups with the revamped Brooklyn Nets, rival Boston Celtics, defending champion Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and more tough opponents.

If the Lake Show is going to climb back above .500 and make a serious playoff push, they’ll need D12 at full strength and on the floor as much as possible for the rest of the season.

It’s currently unknown exactly when Howard will be ready to go, but coach Mike D’Antoni made it clear that as soon as the center is pain-free, he’s going to be back out there (as per Bresnahan):

As soon as the pain goes away, he'll play. 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.

For the Lakers’ sake, Howard will need to hope his shoulder heals quickly or to be willing to fight through the pain if the team is going to salvage this season.