Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dwight Howard Will Play Tonight if Cleared by "Father Vitti"

Dwight Howard is ready to make his Los Angeles Lakers debut tonight at Staples Center if the team's training staff clears him following this morning shootaround.

Yes, there's still an "if" in this situation. And while Howard said he'd like nothing more than to step on to the court and stop all the endless speculation about when he'll finally don the purple and gold, the decision is up to Lakers' longtime trainer, Gary Vitti, whom he's playfully taken to calling "Father Vitti."

"I want to play," Howard said. "But it's all up to Father and the rest of the staff. I don't want to say I'm playing and then not play."

Howard has been able to practice fully with the team for several weeks. It's just a matter of building his conditioning up to a level where he won't get fatigued and risk another injury.

"I'm very excited," he said. "I'm tired of everybody asking me when I'm going to play. But I am excited.

"It's a great honor. I just want to make sure I'm able to sustain everything that I do so I won't have to play one game, the next game sit out."

Howard was a full participant in Saturday's lengthy practice. However, he did sit out of Friday morning's shootaround in Las Vegas before the Lakers' exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings.

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