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Dwight Howard already ruled out for Rockets-Bucks on Friday

Cleveland Cavaliers v Houston Rockets

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets takes a shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during their game at the Toyota Center on January 15, 2016 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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Dwight Howard injured his ankle in the first minute of the Rockets’ loss to the Pistons yesterday and didn’t return.

He won’t be back for Houston’s next game, either.

Mark Berman of Fox 26:

It’s not a great sign that the Rockets already ruled out Howard a day in advance. That suggests he’s not particularly close to returning.

Howard had been on a tear, averaging 19.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in Houston’s previous six games – four wins. He has helped the Rockets climb to 22-22, seventh in the West.

In his absence, they can slide Clint Capela from power forward to center. But making that work will require the up-and-down Terrence Jones to settle in a reasonable level.

Houston loses a lot of talent and a lot of margin for error with Howard sidelined.