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Dwight Howard participates in Lakers' 1st practice

Associated Press Modified: October 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm •  Published: October 2, 2012
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Dwight Howard participated in his first practice with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, going through a lengthy workout with no apparent concerns about his surgically repaired back.

Howard worked out with the Lakers' new starting five during much of the afternoon practice at the Lakers' training complex, running offensive drills with Steve Nash and playing a little 1-on-1 against Pau Gasol. After finishing up the workout with drills in the Lakers' new Princeton-inflected offense, he got a few quick pointers from Kobe Bryant.

Howard's performance was encouraging to the Lakers, who are being careful with their new franchise center five months after surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back.

"I didn't surprise myself," Howard said. "I've been working hard to get on the court. I want to continue to work hard, (and) we haven't had any setbacks, so I want to continue to do whatever I can to get on the court."

The six-time All-Star center hasn't committed to any timetable for his debut with the Lakers, who acquired him in a four-team trade in August. The Lakers already have announced Howard won't play in their first preseason game in Fresno against Golden State on Sunday night, but Howard sounds determined to suit up with his teammates at some point before the regular season opener Oct. 30 against Dallas.

"Hopefully I'll be back for some preseason games," Howard said. "I think we're going to need it for chemistry and all that stuff, but like I said, I'm not going to rush. I'm going to continue to practice. We've had some great practices. Today was really good, so I'm happy."

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