Washington Wizards face an anxious wait to see if star off-season arrival Dwight Howard will be fit for their season-opener against Miami Heat on October 18.
Howard made the switch from Charlotte in July but the center has been unable to take part in pre-season due to a back injury.
The 32-year-old missed just one regular season game for the Hornets last year and that was due to a suspension rather than fitness concerns, but his injury has prevented him from full practice with Washington ahead of the new campaign.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters they are taking it “day by day” with the eight-time All-Star prior to Monday’s 121-124 pre-season loss to New York Knicks.
Washington have one more pre-season fixture encounter against Detroit Pistons later this week but it looks unlikely former LA Laker Howard will be involved, and his chances of featuring in their opener against the Heat appear slim at this stage.
When fit, Howard should be an excellent acquisition for the Wizards as he has averaged a double-double in all of his 14 season in the NBA so far. Howard averaged 16.6 points per game for Charlotte last year and 12.5 rebounds, and may well improve on those stats now he is with a stronger team in Washington.
The Wizards are 23.00 to win the Eastern Conference outright next season and 81.00 to win the NBA Finals.