Rockets coach McHale says Dwight Howard won’t be returning ‘any time soon’


Dwight Howard was a surprise late scratch for his return to Los Angeles against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers back on Nov. 19. A knee issue had crept up, and this early in the season, there was no reason to risk any further damage by trying to play through something that could be a lingering problem as the year goes on.

A day later, Howard underwent platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment on the knee, in an attempt to speed up the healing process.

But nine games later, Howard is still sidelined with the injury. And Rockets head coach Kevin McHale intimated that his starting center is likely to be out for the foreseeable future.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

The Rockets’ hope that Dwight Howard could be close to returning from his strained right knee seemed to be fading.

While discussing Pat Beverley’s return from a strained left hamstring, Rockets coach Kevin McHale said “It would be nice to get everybody else back, but that won’t be happening any time soon.”

McHale had previously said he hoped that Howard, who has been out since Nov. 19, might be ready to return in time to play on the Rockets’ road trip Wednesday and Thursday to play Golden State and Sacramento. Asked if he had a better feel for Howard’s timetable, he said again, “He won’t be back anytime soon.”

The good news for Houston is that they’ve managed to keep winning in the short term, despite Howard’s absence.

The Rockets are 7-2 with Howard sidelined, and that includes wins against good teams like Memphis and Dallas.

Houston hopes to be playing deep into the postseason, however, and that’s unlikely to be possible if Howard remains out of action.