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Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm, Tony Jones: @Tjonessltrib

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Utah Jazz's Josh Howard on starting over, looking back, new team, car collection

Excerpts from Josh Howard's media interview Saturday morning.

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Howard said he was at 85-90 percent health last season before his injury and mainly dealt with tendinitis.

When can he play 30 minutes a game: I would say as soon as possible. I'm going to go out there and practice, even when we're done with practice, just working my body right so I can get out there and contribute as much as I can.

Howard said Devin Harris played a factor in signing with the Jazz but he mainly prayed about decision.

Thoughts about SLC and Jazz before he joined Utah: I always knew it was a tough place to try and come to get a win. Home-court advantage is great up here. That was another reason I felt like this would be a place for me to go. The state, the city supports the team and that's what I like about it.

Turned his career around: Oh yeah, it's safe to say that. I learned from my mistakes. I had to put that behind me and learn from it. Mentoring, even though the injury caused me not to play, I was able to figure out I had a little bit of coaching in me.

Turning point: I think the injury is really what did it. Having my first major injury put things in perspective — how the game can be gone so fast in the blink of an eye. For me to be able to fight through it with my mentoring program — even helping like the John Walls, Nick Youngs, Andray Blatches — it was a great feeling knowing I can do that.

Who he turned to: Myself. And God, of course. My family of course had my back as always. If it wouldn't for my family I wouldn't have got on the right page, as well.

Looking back on Dallas: Great place where I started my career at. Really didn't want to 'stick it to them' — any team I wanted to stick it to. It was just that competitive spirit in me to play hard. For the most part, I appreciate everything that I learned from Dallas and hopefully carries it over like it did in Washington and here.

Different player now: I get to use my brain a little bit more as far as being a vet and being in the wars, making it to the Finals — a lot of people can't say they did that. Knowing what it takes to commit to getting that far.

Know other Jazz players: Oh yeah. Al [Jefferson], Raja Bell — I played against him a couple of times. Those two guys really stick out. Earl [Watson]. The team overall, I looked at it and seen a lot of positive guys that want to win and want to play hard. And that was another main factor for me coming out here.

Headband: Oh yeah. No headband. [Laughs] But it was cool. It was time for a change. Devin [Harris] has my [number] 5, I have 8 now. It's time for a change.

Leadership: I associate myself as a leader with the type of things I've been through. For me to get over those things, I'm a leader myself. So regardless of what anybody thinks, I know what I can do.

Being 31 and what's left in the tank: Unfortunately because of my injury it set me back; I was actually able to save my legs. I feel like I can give a lot to this game; however many years, even if it's on the court or off the court or in a front office somewhere. Basketball was one of my first loves as far as just getting out the house and enjoying it. The sky's the limit with it, the Lord willing and if I stay healthy.

Harris vouching for him: Me and Devin have always kept a close relationship. He still lives in Dallas as well as me. Even after he got traded I stayed in touch with him. Me and his brother are best friends. He knows the real Josh Howard and that makes me feel great. A lot of those guys out there know the real Josh Howard, outside of the stuff that people supposedly read.

Classic car collection: It's nice. … It's coming. I've got two projects coming up that the season's going to start and hopefully at the end of the season they'll be done. A ['67] Lincoln and a '64 Impala that I'm working on. … I've only bought two new cars; everything's been used. I use my brain when it comes to buying cars.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz



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