Houston Rockets Weekly: Dwight Howard’s Back Just Fine, Thanks

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Dwight Howard didn’t play in the fourth quarter when the Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. Howard says his back was fine, but coach Kevin McHale said concerns about back stiffness were why Howard didn’t go back into the game. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A lengthy stint on the bench in the Houston Rockets’ 100-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday led some to wonder if Rockets center Dwight Howard was having a recurrence of the back trouble that led to season-ending surgery in 2012 when he was with the Orlando Magic.

Howard had his least productive game of the season, scoring just two points and getting only six rebounds in 18 minutes.

But Howard said the only stiffness he had in his back was attributed to sitting out with foul trouble for so long, telling Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:



Howard played 9:44 in the first quarter and picked up two fouls. He got his third personal in the second period, when he played 4:13. Howard played only 4:08 in the third period and was hit with fouls No. 4 and No. 5 and he sat out the entire fourth quarter. However, the Houston Chronicle reported that Howard was having stiffness in his back and that was part of Kevin McHale’s decision not to put him back in the game.

Howard has fallen behind Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the league lead in rebounding. Howard is averaging 13.4 rebounds per game, slightly behind Love’s 13.8 mark.

Last week, the Rockets were 3-2, losing to the Mavericks Monday, winning at San Antonio on Christmas night, beating the Grizzlies on Thursday, beating the Pelicans on Saturday and losing at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

The Rockets are now 21-12, good for fifth in the Western Conference and four games behind the Spurs in the Southwest Division.

Here is the week that was, including game reviews, some news and notes, add the rookie watch as the Rockets have recalled guard Isaiah Canaan from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League, injury updates, study some stats from the week and the season and select a player of the week, as well as a look ahead to next week’s action.

All statistical information from NBA.com/Stats.

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