The Houston Rockets were unable to find a worthy trade for Omer Asik to balance their roster and instead kept him as an insurance policy.
Howard will have missed two straight games on Thursday with a strained left ankle.
Asik has been working with Hakeem Olajuwon on his footwork on offense.
"He tries to help me on basic moves on the offensive end," Asik said. "He's helping me a lot. He's one of the best big guys. I just try to get the most out of it and try to use it on the court.
"He is the most talented, the best fundamentally I think in NBA history. I can't be like him, but I'm trying to learn something."
"He's a big part of what we do," Kevin McHale said. "He's so good defensively, rebounds. He's right on point with all of his calls defensively. Dwight gets a chance to rest a little bit and Omer gets a chance to play a little bit more. They're probably both good things."
"I'm happy for the big guy," Howard said. "I'm happy to see him playing. I'm happy to see him healthy. … We need him. He's a big part of our success. He just has to understand that no matter how many minutes he plays, he's a big part of the puzzle.
"I'm really proud of him. He's coming on around. It took a little while. I'm still trying to get him to dance a little bit down there, but he'll get better. I'm happy he's more comfortable in his role."