Scott Brooks announced Dwight Howard will not play in the regular season opener on Thursday.
Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard will not play in tonight’s season-opener against the Miami Heat, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. He still needs more practice time.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 18, 2018
Scott Brooks confirms that Dwight Howard is OUT tonight for the #Wizards season opener— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) October 18, 2018
"We just don't feel that he's quite there yet."
It’s understandable that Howard might need a little time to get up to speed. He needs time to physically recover and get back into game shape, and he also needs time to get a feel for his new teammates.
Howard missed all of training camp and the preseason with a back issue that was later diagnosed as a sore piriformis. He didn’t go through a full practice with the team until on Monday.
In Howard’s absence, the team will likely call on Ian Mahinmi to start at center. However, if Mahinmi can’t cut down on his foul rate (he committed 7.2 fouls per 36 minutes last season) the team will likely need to call on Jason Smith to play a bit as well. It also wouldn’t be surprising if we see some small ball with Markieff Morris, Jeff Green, and even Otto Porter at center to get the team through until Dwight Howard is ready to play.