Sure, the big man still averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, but he wasn’t the same dominating force that he was in Orlando after having back surgery in 2012.
In fact, when the Rockets signed Howard to an $88-million deal in July, they had a lot of concerns.
However, those concerns have all but disappeared.
“His health is 100 percent different,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale told J.A. Adande and Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. “When we did a physical after we signed him, I sat down with our training staff and they were all like, ‘Oh boy.’ He had a huge discrepancy in his strength in his right leg and his left leg. His glutes and his hamstrings were really weak and his flexibility was completely … funky.
“He really spent a lot of time this summer getting right. He’s getting closer.”
Howard is averaging 15.0 points and 17.0 rebounds per game and the Rockets are off to a 3-0 start.
They’ll get their toughest test of the young season Monday at 10:30 pm EST when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.