Dwight Howard says he hopes to return on Saturday for Rockets

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Dwight Howard has missed his team’s last nine games with a knee issue, one that Rockets head coach Kevin McHale made sound fairly serious when he said he wasn’t expecting his All-Star big man back any time soon.

A day later, a report surfaced that said Howard went through an “intense workout,” and that his return could soon follow.

Howard spoke to reporters in advance of Wednesday night’s contest against the Warriors, and while he will remain sidelined against Golden State, he did say he hopes to be back on the court in time for this weekend’s action, reports¬†Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

If Howard returns to play Saturday at home against the Nuggets as he’s targeting, he will have missed a total of 11 straight games.

Houston has managed to put together a record of 7-2 with Howard out, which is more than impressive. The team needs to make sure Howard is 100 percent healthy whenever he does return, especially while showing a proven ability to keep up in the standings with the elite in the Western Conference.

Howard has averaged 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds in 33.5 minutes per game this season, but injuries have limited him to appearing in just 10 total contests.

MORE: CSN Bay Area subscriber? Watch Warriors-Rockets Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET