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Kevin McHale plans to have Dwight Howard return to lineup Wednesday against Pelicans

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

NBAE/Getty Images

Dwight Howard has missed the last 26 games for the Rockets due to injury, but thanks to the brilliance of James Harden, the team has gone 17-9 without him.

If Kevin McHale gets his way, Houston won’t be without much longer.

From Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle:

McHale says depending on how Dwight Howard feels today, he plans to play him tomorrow in New Orleans
Dwight Howard said he felt good after a practice in Indiana today. He and the staff will talk tomorrow and if he is up to it, he will play.

Coach McHale on Dwight Howard: “We plan to play him unless what we did today bothers him.”

Howard would be on a minutes restriction, but getting him reacclimated in any capacity for the final 12 games of the regular season is important for the team’s chemistry heading into the playoffs.

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The Rockets are at third place in the Western Conference standings, two up on Portland and two-and-a-half back of Memphis. Howard has averaged 16.3 points, 11 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots this season, while playing 32.2 minutes per contest in 32 total appearances.