Update: The Hawks have officially announced Howard’s absence.
Dwight Howard was absent from the proceedings while the Atlanta Hawks picked up an impressive win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. In advance of the team’s next game on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Howard was listed as questionable with the same “back tightness” designation and, again, it appears he will be out of the lineup.
Dwight Howard is OUT vs. Timberwolves.— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) December 21, 2016
While Howard indicated during shootaround that his back was improving (via Chris Vivlamore of the AJC), it does not come as a shock that he would be on the sideline for an additional game. The 31-year-old has battled back issues at times during the last few seasons and, given Atlanta’s lengthy track record when it comes to taking the safe approach with injury, it isn’t necessarily time to sound any alarms.
Still, the team’s best rebounder and rim protector missing two straight games with an all too familiar injury doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence, and it will be interesting to monitor Howard’s activity in the coming days. During his pre-game availability, Mike Budenholzer declined to indicate what lineups would be used in Howard’s absence. With that said, an uptick from Paul Millsap and Mike Muscala would appear likely, with the possibility of minutes from Kris Humphries, Mike Scott and Taurean Prince.