Dwight Howard returns to Rockets' lineup

HOUSTON (AP) Dwight Howard returned to the Houston Rockets' lineup Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets after missing 11 games because of a strained right knee.

Coach Kevin McHale says he plans to play the All-Star center in increments of 4 or 5 minutes and ''see what he's got in the tank.'' McHale says he'll likely limit Howard to 20-24 minutes.

McHale says: ''I don't know what to expect, but he's a freakish athlete and he gets in shape real fast so hopefully he'll be able to give us something.''

Howard is averaging 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in his second season in Houston. The Rockets have done well without him, going 8-3.

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