**UPDATE** Dwight Howard will miss the first game of this weekend's back-to-back
In what comes as a bit of a surprise this early in the season, Dwight Howard may play in both games of the Rockets' weekend back-to-back set in California.
The Rockets play Friday night in Sacramento and Saturday night at the Staples in a big one against the Clippers, and Kevin McHale told Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle that depending on how Howard feels, he may be available both nights. McHale said:
"We're going to see about the next two nights. Dwight went through some stuff today. He was a little sore because he played 30 minutes last night. I think he feels good overall, though. No swelling anymore, no 'I'm getting pain in a certain spot,' so he will play one of the two games. I'm sure we'll play him both."
Despite the ambiguity (or maybe coachspeak) of McHale's statement, it sounds like Howard has a real shot to play both nights, which would come as a huge relief to a team in need of some good fortune and some continuity on the court.
With Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones both out indefinitely, the Rockets are already extremely thin in the front court, and the news that Patrick Beverley will miss some time with a concussion doesn't help things in the back court either.
Having Dwight available all weekend coming off a stellar 23-point, 14-rebound performance in Wednesday night's win over Orlando in which he showed nice chemistry with new point guard Ty Lawson should do wonders for both the team's still developing rhythm and confidence and also for Dwight individually.
Clint Capela will still fill in at center a fair amount even if Dwight does play both nights, as McHale will likely limit his minutes so as not to overwork him too quickly.
But the Rockets have been in need of some good news and positive vibes, and learning that their star big man's health is improving faster than anticipated, definitely qualifies as such.
Expect to know more during tonight's shoot around.