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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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Jazz's Josh Howard has target date of April 24 for return

San Antonio — While his teammates wrapped up shootaround Sunday morning at the AT&T Center, Jazz forward Josh Howard relaxed in a baseline seat and calmly watched the action.

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Howard had already worked out early Sunday, though, and he planned to ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes when Utah returned to its hotel.

The nine-year veteran is two weeks into his rehabilitation after undergoing left knee arthroscopic surgery. He hasn't experienced post-surgery swelling or any setbacks. And while Howard continues to eye the week of April 16 as the period he'll resume basketball-related activities, he revealed Sunday he has a target date in mind for his official return: April 24 against Phoenix at EnergySolutions Arena.

If Howard continues to make progress and receives a greenlight from the Jazz, that'd give him two games in uniform before Utah's regular season ends. Howard could play against the Suns, practice April 25 in Salt Lake City, then close out the year April 26 against Portland. Two practice days also separate the Jazz's April 21 contest against Orlando from Utah's game against Phoenix, allowing Howard adequate ramp-up time if he's cleared.

Also in the center of Howard's mind: He doesn't want to end another season wearing a suit. The Jazz forward was hobbled by injuries 2009-11 with Washington, and he's never bought into the idea of being out for the remainder of the 2011-12 campaign.

Howard on his rehab: Everything's going well. Just looking forward to that fourth week [of recovery], so I can get out there and play.

What he's been able to do: Riding the bike. A lot of leg extensions, leg curls. Pretty much the stuff that I did to rehab my ACL, I'm doing just to strengthen up my quad muscles. … Just trying to get my cardio up so when I come back, it'll be easier for me to get back into it.

Any pain or swelling: No setbacks at all. No pain. No swelling. It's been a great thing for me. I'm kind of glad I had that done, because it's just a part of the game. Especially having that type of knee injury, there's always going to be some kind of debris buildup, and especially the amount of miles I've put on my body throughout the years. It's a good thing. You can tell it's paying off.

Date in mind for return: Yeah. I want to be back for those last two games of the season.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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