Friday December 17, 2010 3:15 p.m.
By Frank HanrahanCSNwashington.com
Plagued by injuries so far this young NBA season, the Wizards will actually get one back from injury as forward Josh Howard could return as soon as Saturday night against the red-hot Miami Heat at Verizon Center. Howard tore his ACL in his left knee last March just four games after coming over to Washington in a trade from Dallas. The former all star forward has been rehabbing rigorously since then, and finally gets to make his Wizards debut.
"I have been looking forward to coming back you know I enjoyed my four games playing here last season," Howard said. "Hopefully I can shake the rust off and get back to being the old Josh Howard."
For his 7 year career, the versatile 6'7 swingman has averaged 15 points a game and 6 rebounds a game and has the athletic ability to get out on the break and finish, and is a very reliable mid range jump shooter. Unable to play thus far, Howard has been on the bench as a witness to the Wizards' 6-18 start and a current 6 game losing skid but he is optimistic he can help the team turn things around.
"I have seen a lot of flashes you know we just got to get consistent I think that's the biggest thing to learn for these young guys," Howard said. That's something as a vet I can teach them. We just got to stay positive and hope for the best."
Howard expects to play about 20 minutes if he is cleared to go against Miami and he welcomes the challenge of defending the Heat's all everything in Lebron James. "He's an old friend of mine so I am looking forward to getting out there and facing him even if it's the first guy I see out there," Howard said. "If it's Miami or if its New Jersey just getting out there and playing is the number one priority for me."
Miami has won 10 straight games and even though Howard is likely back, the Wizards won't have guard John Wall again because of knee tendinitis and forward Andray Blatche will be a game time decision with a sore knee. Already out several weeks with an MCL sprain is Wiz forward Yi Jianlian.
Notes: The Washington Wizards will hold their annual Wizard Care Toyland drive on Saturday, December 18 when the team plays the Miami Heat at 7:00 pm. Doors will open at 6:00 pm. Fans are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy to the game. Each fan that donates an item will receive a ticket to a future Wizards home game. Toys can be dropped off at the Salvation Army truck located outside the F Street entrance before the game.