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Dwight Howard injury: Hawks center doesn’t think back is a long term issue

Hawks center missed Monday’s win in Oklahoma City due to “back tightness.”

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard was a late scratch for Monday’s win in Oklahoma City due to back tightness but is hopeful that he will be able to return to the lineup soon.

Howard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore that his back flared up after the Toronto game and that it didn’t have a chance to settle down with a back-to-back the next night against Charlotte.

Howard had a huge game in Atlanta’s road win at Toronto finishing with 27 points and 15 rebounds. He followed that up one night later with a 10 point, 23 rebound performance against the Hornets.

With Howard sidelined on Monday, Mike Budenholzer elected to go with a small lineup that featured Paul Millsap as the team’s starting center. The strategy worked as Millsap logged a double-double with 30 points and 11 rebounds as Atlanta overcame a huge performance by Russell Westbrook in a 110-108 road win over the Thunder.

Howard has appeared in 26 of Atlanta’s 28 games this season and is averaging 14.2 points and 13.0 rebounds per contest.