Dwight Howard resumes basketball activities, still no timeline for return

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Dwight Howard isn’t returning to the Rockets’ lineup anytime soon after missing the last 19 games, but there is good news about his progress. Kevin McHale says that Howard has resumed on-court activities and should be back before the end of the regular season.

From ESPN.com’s Calvin Watkins:

Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale said before Saturday night’s 114-100 win over the Denver Nuggets that star center Dwight Howard has resumed mild on-court activities.

Howard hasn’t played since Jan. 30 because of edema in his right knee.

“He is starting to do a combination of treadmill and floor stuff, which is a good sign,” McHale said Saturday night. “They’re going slow. They want to make sure that they have a handle on it.”

In early February, Howard underwent a bone marrow aspirate injection and started rehab immediately. The team said Howard would be out four to six weeks and that Howard’s status would be evaluated after four weeks.

McHale has said he is not sure when Howard will return but expects him before the end of the regular season.

The Rockets have been keeping pace with the rest of the crowded Western Conference with Howard out. They’re 13-6 in the 19 games he’s missed with this knee injury, and they’re third in the West playoff standings with a 43-20 record. James Harden playing like the likely league MVP helps, but they’ve also gotten strong play recently from big men Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones.

The West is so tough that it’s hard to see the Rockets hanging in a seven-game series with the Spurs or the Clippers without Howard, but if he’s back before the end of the regular season, they have a chance at making a deep playoff run.