Dwight Howard likely out for Rockets Thursday due to ankle injury

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Dwight Howard has been healthy this season, and with that played like the guy the Lakers thought they were getting a year ago. Houston has looked good and improving with him in the paint.

But he was out Monday night against Utah with an ankle strain suffered against Miami on Sunday.

Now he is going to miss a second game as well, coach Kevin McHale said.

This is where Houston’s depth comes in handy, you will see a lot more Omer Asik. Also you will see Terrence Jones on Kevin Love in an interesting matchup. Still the Rockets will miss the 18.6 points on 57 percent shooting and the 12.4 boards a night Howard brings.

Getting healthy is what should matter most to the Rockets, they don’t want this to linger. Right now they are pretty much locked in on the four seed, two back of a hot Clippers team for the third seed and 1.5 up on slumping Portland in the five spot. Golden State is two games back in the six slot.

With the NCAA tournament in full swing the NBA stops its Thursday night TNT NBA showcase games for a couple weeks to let the next crop of NBA stars — and maybe a Cinderella — take the spotlight. So that Rockets/Timberwolves showdown wasn’t going to be on national television, you’re not missing anything.