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NBA: Howard cleared for five-on-five scrimmages
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dwight Howard has been cleared for limited five-on-five scrimmages with the Los Angeles Lakers in his latest step back from offseason surgery.

Howard won't play in the Lakers' next preseason game Wednesday night against Portland in Ontario, Calif.

Howard was cleared Tuesday for limited participation in full-court scrimmages with contact. He had participated in every other aspect of the Lakers' practices during training camp except full-court contact.

The six-time All-Star center had surgery on his back last spring.

Howard hasn't projected a date for his Lakers debut, but is hopeful he can participate in a preseason game. After Wednesday's visit from the Trail Blazers, the Lakers will have six more exhibitions before their season opener Oct. 30 against Dallas.

Kirilenko content

New Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko is back in the NBA after a season away and apparently feeling like he is back home, even though he spent his first decade in the league in Utah, not Minnesota.

"I really feel like I belong here," he said.

Kirilenko once felt like that with the Jazz, after he parlayed an All-Star Game appearance at age 23 into an $86 million contract that was supposed to make him the franchise's new face after John Stockton and Karl Malone retired.

But that was before Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams blossomed in the team's offense, before Kirilenko played out the final years of that six-year deal with a whopping salary but a diminished role.

Now, after a season playing back home in Russia, he says he knows just where he fits at age 31 on a team that's all Kevin Love's.

He is the savvy veteran signed to a two-year, $20 million contract who gives the Wolves perhaps their most versatile defender and has played the game all his life just the way Rick Adelman has lived to coach it, with motion and selflessness.

Kirilenko always admired Adelman's Sacramento teams from a decade ago, particularly after the Jazz played the Kings "like 20 times" in preseason, regular season and consecutive playoff series in 2002 and 2003.

"Those teams were known by very good movement of the ball and a lot of, a lot of motion," Kiril­enko said. "And I've always been a guy who likes the energetic style of the game: Running, moving, pass, cut, and I think this team is going to be very, very good fit for me."

Preseason

FC Barcelona Regal 99, Mavericks 85 • A swollen right knee kept Dirk Nowitzki out of Dallas' loss at FC Barcelona Regal on Tuesday, with Pete Mickeal and Juan Carlos Navarro both scoring 19 points for the 17-time Spanish champions.

Bucks 87, Cavaliers 80 • In Canton, Ohio, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis scored 15 points apiece to lead Milwaukee over Cleveland.

NBA notes • But L.A. center won't play Wednesday vs. Blazers.
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