Magic expect to have Dwight Howard back Friday night

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Dwight Howard didn’t play for Orlando Tuesday night and they lost to the lowly Wizards. That says just about all you need to know about how good they are without Howard (and why ownership is so desperate to keep him).

Expect Howard to suit up Friday night when the Magic take on the Hawks in a game that could have all kinds of playoff implications. He has already missed four games due to back spasms.

Here is what Stan Van Gundy said to the Orlando Sentinel.

“He’s getting better,” Van Gundy said. “So we’re not concerned.”

Van Gundy said that Howard could have played agains the Wizards, but said the team didn’t want him taking contact now in the post.

Orlando is currently the six seed in the East, and with Philadelphia three games back in the seven spot Orlando is not likely to fall back without a total collapse. Which they have looked on the verge of lately.

Orlando is half a game back of Atlanta in the five seed and a game and a half back of the Pacers with the three seed. Boston is the four seed — and the hottest team, which means teams may be trying hard to avoid them in the first round.