Dwight Howard believes he's "close" to returning to the Houston Rockets' lineup.
Howard has missed 23 games to rest his right knee and went through a full practice earlier this week.
“I have been feeling pretty good,” Howard said on Wednesday. “I had some pretty good days of practice this week.”
Howard says his workouts over the last few weeks have been some of the toughest of his career.
“We did some extremely tough workouts on the treadmill,” Howard said. “Any time anyone says ‘treadmill,’ I lose it because I don’t think anyone understands what they had me doing on the treadmill. I was just begging them, ‘Can I play so I cannot have to do this?’ Rehab is harder than the actual practice and all that stuff so the treadmill, I hate that word. I bought a treadmill and I am thinking about getting rid of it because of all the stuff they have had me do.
“After that, they had me start doing court workouts and even the court workouts were intense. We did some in Portland and a lot of the guys wanted to join in. They did a couple sets then were like, ‘Nah, this is pretty intense.’”
Howard's main goal is to be ready for the playoffs.
“I will be back when I feel I am in the best shape but also my body is healthy enough to play and maintain myself,” he said. “I know a lot of people want me to play and I want me to play as badly as anybody but the important thing is to make sure this doesn’t happen again because we want to make a deep push in the playoffs this year and I can’t afford to miss any playoff games.”