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LOS ANGELES -- After missing the last three games with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard made his return Sunday and led his team past the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-93.
Howard had 22 points and 14 boards, helping the Lakers snap a six-game losing streak.
Howard was examined by Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo before the game and cleared to return.
"It will get better but I have to ice it every game, same thing with our knees," Howard said. "Just something to prevent an injury."
Howard said he did not expect to play when he arrived at the arena Sunday evening, but he got clearance when he was examined about 45 minutes before tipoff.
Howard said he was not experiencing any pain in his shoulder and it doesn't cause him any limitations on the court, but he still has to remain vigilant in rehabbing the injury going forward.
"It's still there, a piece is still torn from my bone but the biggest thing, like I told you guys a couple days ago, I don't want to aggravate it every night," Howard said. "That's why they asked me to sit down for a couple of games to regain some strength and come back when I don't have any pain."
Howard was injured in the second half of the Lakers' 107-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last week when he got his arms tangled up with Caron Butler. He played through the injury in the Lakers' following game, a 112-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets, and tied a career high with 26 rebounds and added 14 points and four blocks in 41 minutes of playing time despite the pain.
The Lakers went 0-3 in Howard's absence.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who has also been sidelined the last three games after suffering a concussion against Denver, was not cleared to return to game action after being examined Sunday morning. He will be re-evaluated Monday.