From Comcast SportsNetLOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwight Howard won't finish his rehabilitation from back surgery in time for the start of the Los Angeles Lakers' training camp or their first preseason game next month.The Lakers provided an update on the newly acquired center's condition on their website Thursday night, confirming their long-anticipated decision to take it easy in Howard's return from spinal surgery.The team doesn't intend to announce a timetable for Howard's recovery, but says he won't participate in the start of training camp on Oct. 2, or the preseason opener in Fresno five days later.The six-time All-Star has said he hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season Oct. 30, but the team isn't speculating.Howard recently began working with the Lakers' training staff on his recovery from surgery last April repairing a herniated disc and doing additional cleanup. Howard's personal trainer is working alongside the Lakers' staff, and the center has experienced no setbacks.Howard is doing core stabilization training while also getting in a little light running and shooting.The Lakers can afford to be cautious with their new big man, acquired from Orlando in a four-team trade on Aug. 10 that sent All-Star center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia.Pau Gasol will be ready to play in the middle when training camp opens in two weeks, and the Lakers have years of experience in dealing with injured centers during Bynum's injury struggles.
Now that the Minnesota Vikings’ season is over, the team can start sorting out its quarterback situation. The Redskins will be watching the process with great interest.
Minnesota has three quarterbacks who have significant NFL starting experience and all three of them are free agents. It would be difficult for the Vikings to keep more than one of the trio of Sam Bradford (80 NFL starts), Case Keenum (38), and Teddy Bridgewater (28). All three would like to start, or at least have an opportunity to start, in 2018. The Vikings will only be able to accommodate one of them.
MORE REDSKINS: LOOKING AT SENIOR BOWL QUARTERBACKS
That would leave two experienced quarterbacks on the market. As you may have heard, the Redskins could be parting ways with Kirk Cousins. Would they be interested in any of the three possible ex-Vikings? Let’s take a look at each of them:
Sam Bradford, age 30 at start of 2018 season—After the Rams made him the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, he had four up and down years in St. Louis. He was traded to the Eagles for Nick Foles. Philly flipped him to the Vikings after Bridgewater was injured before the 2016 season. Bradford had a career year in his first year there but a knee injury limited him to two starts in 2017.
Fit with the Redskins: He is the most likely of the three to end up on the free agent market and he could end up costing the least. Bradford was very productive in 2016 and he would be a good fit in Jay Gruden’s offense. But the injury bug is a major red flag. He has missed 48 of a possible 128 games with injuries including 14 last season and the entire 2014 season.
Teddy Bridgewater, age 25—He was going to be the Vikings’ franchise quarterback after they drafted him in the first round in 2014. Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a division title his second season and they were a missed chip shot field goal away from advancing to the divisional round. But a devastating knee injury suffered before the 2016 season has put his future in doubt. It put him on the injury list for all of 2016 and most of last year.
Fit with the Redskins: The story now is that the organization is torn between keeping Bridgewater or sticking with Keenum. Bridgewater also could fit into Gruden’s offense. Bridgewater is by far the youngest of the three and he could be more of a long-term solution. The knee is the reason why the Vikings can’t move on and there is uncertainty over whether it will ever be 100 percent.
RELATED: NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0
Case Keenum, age 30—The Vikings are the third stop in his six NFL seasons. He had stints as the starter in Houston and with the Rams before landing in Minnesota as a free agent last March. When Bradford was injured in Week 1 in came Keenum and he had a career year, completing 67.6 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Vikings had an excellent defense but it’s unlikely that they reach the NFC championship game without Keenum.
Fit with Redskins: Is Keenum a one-year wonder? Or did his show is ability given a chance? Look at this table to compare his first season as a starter with Kirk Cousins’ 2015 season. Keenum had 62 fewer attempts so the yardage total is lower, but their performances are comparable. But if the Vikings let him go, will the Redskins risk a multi-year deal that probably will be in excess of $20 million per year on a guy with one solid year on his resume? They were unwilling to do it with Cousins a few years ago.
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 23, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.
—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 42
—NFL Draft (4/26) 93
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 229
Five Redskins free agents—Stay or go?
Kirk Cousins isn’t the only Redskins free agent whose future with the team is up in the air. Let’s break out some imaginary casino chips and budget a maximum of $100 on whether each of the following free agents stays with the Redskins or plays elsewhere in 2018.
ILB Zach Brown—I’m starting with the toughest one first. He seems to be a good fit in the Redskins’ defense and he had a good year playing in it. The six-year veteran didn’t express any great desire to stay in Washington when talking to the media, but that is just the smart thing to do. At age 28, this probably is his best shot at getting a big contract and he may simply go to the highest bidder. If he has to go to his fourth different team in four seasons to get it, he probably will. $55 on stay
OLB Junior Galette—Galette still has the Redskins tattoo on his arm, but he might have to start calling it a buffalo nickel tat if the wants to get more playing time. He’s still grateful that the Redskins stuck with him through two seasons lost to Achilles injuries. But he can read a depth chart and he knows that his playing time will be limited as long as Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are around. $80 on go
OLB Trent Murphy—You can’t have too much pass rush. If Galette leaves, the Redskins could have too little if Murphy also bolts in free agency. Ryan Anderson may develop but he is not someone the Redskins can count on as their first option off the bench. It’s easy to forget the nine sacks and 45 pressures Murphy had in 2016 before tearing his ACL in a preseason game last summer. Although another team could swoop in and grab him, a one-year deal with some performance incentives should work for both sides. $60 on stay
OL Spencer Long—The easy talking point is that the Redskins will keep Chase Roullier at center, let free agent Shawn Lauvao walk, and have Long play left guard. But the word is that the Redskins are looking for an upgrade at LG in either the draft or in free agency. That would leave the 2014 third-round pick looking for a new employer. It’s possible that the Redskins will look for a replacement and not be able to find one who is both significantly better and affordable, leading back to Long. $65 on go
WR Ryan Grant—This is a simple case of Grant likely being worth more to the Redskins than he is to other teams. Jay Gruden and the other coaches appreciate his hard work in practice and his ability to line up at any wide receiver spot on the offense. After three years of learning, his work finally showed up on Sundays as he exceeded the combined production of his first three seasons with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns. It seems likely that the team and player will continue their mutually beneficial relationship. $75 on stay
Tandler on Twitter
Big V has come a long way from getting trucked by Ryan Kerrigan again and again. A big part of building depth is having patience. https://t.co/ONhSz6bU4K— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) January 22, 2018
In case you missed it
- It's Senior Bowl time, and also time to start talking Mayfield and Allen
- All eyes on the QBs as Redskins brass goes to Senior Bowl
- The pros and cons of each way to handle the Cousins situation
- Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins
- What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles Super Bowl run?