Howard to debut with Wizards Friday vs. Thunder


Center Dwight Howard will make his debut for the Washington Wizards Friday, coach Scott Brooks said.

Howard, 32, returned to practice Thursday after missing the team’s first seven games with a strained muscle in his buttocks. He is expected to start alongside power forward Markieff Morris Friday when the 1-6 Wizards host the 2-4 Oklahoma City Thunder (8pm, ESPN).

Howard told reporters he still can’t sit without pain and expects to lie on the floor when he’s not playing.

Asked how he expects to use Howard, Brooks said: “I think we’re not going to run plays for him to pick-and-pop for 3s, but it’s a fun game, and fun can’t be for the perimeter guys only. The bigs want to have fun as well.

“His strength of his game is rolling. His strength of his game is finishing around the the rim, but he’s also a good mid-range shooter. … He’s going to get his share of those.”

Howard signed a free-agent deal with the Wizards in July. He has been sidelined since the start of training camp with the injury.

Howard played with the Charlotte Hornets last season, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds in 81 games. He is an eight-time All-Star and was a three-time defensive player of the year with the Orlando Magic from 2009-11.



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