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Point Forward

Dwight Howard returns to Los Angeles for shoulder treatment

By Ben Golliver

Center Dwight Howard will not play in Friday night's game against the Timberwolves in Minnesota and will instead return to Los Angeles to undergo a platelet rich plasma (PRP) procedure on his ailing right shoulder on Saturday. The team also said he will be listed as day-to-day after the procedure and will rejoin the Lakers in advance of Sunday's game against the Pistons in Detroit.

Dr. Dennis Cardone explained PRP therapy to National Public Radio in 2010.

We take blood out of the arm of a patient or athlete, whoever is receiving the PRP therapy. And we take that blood and we then spin it down in a special type of centrifuge, and what that does is it concentrates the platelets. And then with that concentrated platelets, that's what we use to inject into an area or problem area, or area of pathology. The thought or the theory behind PRP is that by taking this aggregate or concentration of platelets, we are enhancing the body's healing response.

Howard re-aggravated his shoulder injury during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Suns on Wednesday night. He attempted to rise up for a shot in the paint with 6:56 remaining in the game, only to have the ball stripped by guard Shannon Brown. As he continued his follow-through, Howard immediately clutched his right arm in pain, before falling to the floor and requiring the attention of the Lakers' medical staff. He did not return to the game.

Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA.com reported Howard's postgame comments on Wednesday.

"It's real sore," Howard told reporters after icing his shoulder and applying kinesiology tape to the joint following the game. "Everything on (the right) side (of my body) is hurting pretty bad right now."

"I'm going to try as much as I can but I don't want to cause more damage to my shoulder," said Howard, who finished with nine points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes against Phoenix. "I don't want to (miss any games), but we'll see."

Howard missed three games in January, all losses, because of the shoulder injury, termed a "torn labrum" by the Lakers.

The Lakers are 10th in the Western Conference at 20-26, four games out of the playoff picture.

Howard, 27, was selected as a starting center for the Western Conference All-Star team by a fan vote. He is averaging 16.5 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 34.7 minutes in his first season with the Lakers after a blockbuster trade last summer.

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