The absence of outstanding news is not the same as bad news. That's the moral of the story tonight, after the Lakers announced Dwight Howard won't be ready for the start of training camp on Oct. 2, nor in uniform for L.A.'s preseason opener against Golden State on Oct. 7.
Yeah, it would have been cool if Howard healed fast enough to suit up from the jump, but it was never a particularly realistic outcome. The expectation has always been Howard would miss at least some time early on, hopefully returning for the opener against Dallas on Oct. 30, but if not then at a not so distant point in the future.
Right now, there's no reason to believe such an outcome, which would be very good in the grand scheme of things, won't happen.
Howard is working with Lakers head trainer Gary Vitti and physical therapist Judy Seto, in conjunction with his own trainer Bryan Meyer. He's working on his core, strengthening his upper and lower body, and doing light running. Most important, the Lakers report no setbacks, so while there is still no official, specific timetable for Howard's debut in purple and gold (nor will one be coming) things seem to be moving along as anticipated.
Good enough. The Lakers cannot/must not/will not/ rush Howard back. The legitimate need for the new-look Lakers to build chemistry notwithstanding, Howard missing a few games in October and November doesn't mean much relative to the prospect of losing him for a big stretch of the season.
Or even worse, taking an injury from which he ought to fully heal and turning it into something chronic.