The Mavs didn't want Howard to try to play on back-to-back nights yet. He ended up sitting out 13 games after playing a back-to-back during his abbreviated return last month.
"We feel it's the right thing to do, managing the situation," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We don't have another back-to-back until [Dec. 26 and 27]. The hope is he'll be ready then to play a back-to-back, but we'll just have to see."
Some of Howard's minutes should go to Quinton Ross, who has missed the last nine games with lower back tightness.