Josh Howard Getting Closer To Returning After Knee Surgery
The Wizards didn't get to see much of Josh Howard last year, as he tore up his knee just a few games after the team traded with him. But Howard has been rehabbing all summer, and now he appears to be getting close to returning.
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Josh Howard is still working on rehabbing the knee that required surgery toward the end of last season. He will probably not be ready for the regular season, but Michael Lee of The Washington Post's Wizards Insider is reporting that Howard is doing well in his recovery.
His improvement has been such a revelation that the Wizards may soon see him on the floor in the next few weeks. "If you watch him on the floor doing skeleton runs, you'd think that he could play that night. He's pretty advanced. A lot more advanced than what we thought, but we're going to take our time," Coach Flip Saunders said.
He would love to be out there right now, but he understands that rushing back could be a bad move in the long run. But he is happy with the progress he has made.
"I've been kind of ahead of schedule all summer, but now it's up to my body and how I feel."
Howard was brought back this summer before the team knew exactly how his knee would heal. If he can get anywhere near his former level of athleticism, he could be a big contributor at a position the Wizards are weak at.
"I think when we first signed him, we said he would not be available for the beginning of the season, and hopefully we can have him back sometime, maybe in November, maybe in December, around that timeframe," Grunfeld said. "But there's no exact date that you can put on it. That's also going to be a process to see how he comes along as the activity level gets increased."
Howard suffered a torn ACL injury last Feb. 22 in a game against the Chicago Bulls. The Wizards re-signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract over the summer regardless, fully expecting his recovery might take some time.
Grunfeld said Howard is currently running on a treadmill, but has not be cleared for other physical activities.
"Josh right now is not cleared for competitive basketball. He's still rehabbing," Grunfeld said. "But he is running on the AlterG and he's making very good progress. We just have to monitor the situation and see how quickly he develops."
When the Wizards re-signed Josh Howard earlier this summer, they did so knowing they wouldn't get him for a full season. Howard tore his ACL in a game last February, and expecting him to be ready by the end of October is a bit much. Howard's agent has said otherwise, but he can't possibly expect Howard to be ready by then.
While Howard does not have any swelling in the knee and his strength is good, and he can walk on an anti-gravity treadmill, he still can't run or do any full-speed basketball drills, and certainly has not been cleared yet for contact or any basketball activities. Right now the Wizards are saying December looks possible, but a return from an ACL injury usually takes a year at least. Whenver Howard comes back, it's likely there will still be minutes available at small forward, where Al Thornton is Washington's only proven player entering camp..
This doesn't provide a clear answer, but does clear up the confusion from those who are believing that Howard will be back right away.