Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard’s status for Thursday’s season opener against the Miami Heat is still unknown. Howard has practiced each of the last three days after missing training camp and the entire preseason while dealing with a sore piriformis.
He has made significant progress getting back on the court for practice. There’s a chance he could play against Miami. His status will be determined in the hours before opening tip.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 17, 2018
Howard signed a two-year deal worth $11 million with the Wizards with the second year being a player option. He is expected to provide the Wizards a post presence they’ve yearned for quite some time. Even at the age of 32, Howard brings a different level of expectations for Washington who adds its three max players, John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter and Markieff Morris to a formidable starting five once Howard’s tenure with the Wizards begins.
With Howard missing significant time, Ian Mahinmi has stepped into the starting lineup throughout the preseason and is expected to do so in the regular season. Head coach Scott Brooks has turned to Jason Smith as the backup center and has totted various lineups that has used Markieff Morris, Jeff Green, and Otto Porter playing the five-spot throughout the preseason.
Getting Howard back at 100 percent is imperative for the Wizards to compete in a now-deep Eastern Conference. Howard was brought in to establish a post presence that was missing throughout the years with Marcin Gortat, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. His ability to play above the rim could create more scoring chances for the Wizards with his ability to catch and dunk lobs, finishing, and cleaning up rebounds.
It’s a wait-and-see leading into the opening tip to see if Howard will play or not. And if he doesn’t how much longer will it take for him to get on the court and make his Wizards debut?