- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard will miss the start of training camp Oct. 2 and the beginning of the preseason schedule starting Oct. 7 against the Golden State Warriors, the team announced Thursday.
ESPN reported the day Howard was traded to the Lakers from the Orlando Magic that he would not be ready for the start of the season.
Howard began working with Lakers head trainer Gary Vitti and head physical therapist Dr. Judy Seto this week as he continues his rehabilitation from April back surgery. The Lakers' training staff has been working alongside Howard's personal trainer, Bryan Meyer, on his rehab, and Lakers officials told the team's website on Thursday that there have been no setbacks to this point.
After he was traded to the Lakers last month, Howard sounded cautiously optimistic that he would be ready for the Lakers' first game of the regular season Oct. 30 against the Dallas Mavericks.
"We'll see what the doctor says," Howard said. "If I'm ready for opening night, I'll be there, but I'm not going to rush it. A back is very serious, so I'm going to take my time and make sure I'm 100 percent because I want to give everybody 100 percent. I want to give everybody everything I have."
Howard was expected to be sidelined six to seven months after his back surgery in April, and the Lakers' opening game of the season would be well past the six-month mark. Howard's current physical therapy consists of core stabilization, upper- and lower-body strengthening, light running and shooting.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak didn't seem overly concerned about Howard's injury or rehab last month, anticipating the center would miss much of camp and the preseason with the possibility he would be back in time for the season opener.
"We feel very assured that he's going to be back," Kupchak said. "We're hopeful he's back for camp, we're hopeful he's back to start the season, but we know he's going to be back and playing at a high level at some point in time."