On Monday, for the first time since 2018-19 training camp began, the Wizards were complete.
Dwight Howard, who missed three weeks due to a strained piriformis muscle, participated in his first full practice with his new team. The 32-year-old signed a free agent deal with the Wizards in July, but had yet to take the court due to the injury, which began bothering him shortly before camp began on Sept. 25.
Howard had a setback on Oct. 6 and saw a specialist in New York. He received a pain injection on Tuesday and on Saturday began shooting again.
After clearing that hurdle, he was ready to be a full-go with his new teammates.
"It felt pretty good. I really gotta catch my wind and learn some of the offense. But other than that, it felt pretty good," Howard said of Day 1.
Howard practicing on Monday gives him two more days to work with before the Wizards open their season on Thursday at home against the Miami Heat. Both he and head coach Scott Brooks say it's too early to tell if he will be available.
"We'll see how it feels. I will do everything I can to make myself available for all 82 games," Howard said.
Howard not only has to play himself into game shape, he has to develop chemistry and timing with his new teammates. He missed all five of their preseason games.
If Howard can play, that would certainly be a positive turn of events for the Wizards. As of the end of last week, it seemed highly unlikely he would be ready when the regular season began.
But Howard turned a corner and now appears to be coming along quicker than once expected.
"It was probably our best practice of training camp," Brooks said Monday after finally getting Howard into the mix.
"He has a natural feel. His IQ was pretty high, I was impressed with that. He picked things up."
Howard signed a two-year contract worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.
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