Why L.A. Lakers Are Smart to Rule out Dwight Howard for First Preseason Game

The Summer of 2012 will forever be remembered as the time in which the Los Angeles Lakers returned to upper echelon of the NBA's elite. With trades for two-time MVP Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, Showtime has finally been restored and dreams of a title have found validity.

The road to redemption begins when the Lakers host their state rival Golden State Warriors on Sunday, October 7th in a preseason game.

The NBA will be watching closely as the star-studded Lakers battle the upstart Warriors for the year's first source of momentum. One of the notable absences from the upcoming battle, however, may place an asterisk next to the confidence built by either side.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard will be sidelined for at least the first preseason game of the year. Howard is currently recovering from back surgery, thus impeding his participation in full contact drills.

As for when he's due to return, don't expect the big man to rush back. Regardless of how much temptation there may be, D-12 will not participate in game activities until he feels he has reached 100 percent.

"I'm still trying to regain strength," [Dwight] Howard told the Lakers' team website. "I'm not playing until I'm 100 percent. Just because I'm doing drills with the team or running up and down, it doesn't mean I'm ready to play in a game. There's a difference between running up and down and being actually out there battling. When I'm 100 percent and able to go, then I'll go."

More times than not, players will attempt to return from injury as soon as possible. Rather than acknowledging the process, athletes will attempt to take the short road to recovery. As Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls will tell you, that approach will do nothing but re-aggravate injuries and force one to be sidelined for longer than expected. Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers