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Rockets’ Dwight Howard (knee) expected to play Wednesday

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is expected to play on Wednesday against the Pelicans after missing 26 games with a knee injury.

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is expected to play on Wednesday against the Pelicans after missing 26 games with a knee injury, coach Kevin McHale announced.

Howard, 29, has not played since Jan. 23 and received a bone marrow aspirate in his right knee. He also missed time earlier in the season because of his right knee and has played in just 32 games this season. The Rockets have gone 22-10 with Howard and 25-13 without him.

He had his eight-year streak of All-Star Game appearances snapped and is averaging 16.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season.

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Terrence Jones helped fill in for Howard, but he is out of the lineup with a partially collapsed lung.

Led by MVP candidate James Harden, the Rockets are 47-23 and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets and Pelicans play at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday in New Orleans.

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- Paul Palladino