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Utah Jazz: Rehabbing Josh Howard joins team on road trip

LOS ANGELES — Josh Howard surprised his teammates Friday with a visit in Utah.

The rehabbing forward, who had his left knee scoped for a loose chip a week ago Thursday, had so much fun catching up, he followed that up with a special request to Tyrone Corbin.

"I had to come and ask coach if I could come on this road trip, because I really wanted to be around them," Howard said. "I'm motivated to get out here and rehab and get around the team. We need every ounce of juice we can get."

Howard's request, of course, was granted.

"I enjoy just being around these guys, the coaching staff, the whole team," Howard said. "Anything that I can offer when I'm not on the court as far as my knowledge of the game with the younger guys, even the older guys, I'm going to do it."

Howard doesn't have an official timetable for his return, but he was told it would be 3-4 weeks after his surgery before he could play again. That was 10 days ago, so it's possible the nine-year veteran could return for the last week or so of the season.

Howard feels like he has "a brand-new knee," but the surgery made it weaker. His challenge is to get back to full strength and get himself back into basketball shape. He's working out his quad and hip while also spending time on the stationary bike.

"Just trying to get myself healthy," he said Saturday at Staples Center. "I'm just feeling my way back through this injury process. I've been reeling really good."

This is minor compared to the rigorous rehab he needed to recuperate from an ACL surgery on the same knee two years ago.

Howard left the team two weeks ago to get a second opinion on his knee in New York City, and that's where he ended up getting the surgical repair done. He's missed eight games with the knee issue.

Howard watched Jazz games while he was away, and was checked up on by Devin Harris, Jamaal Tinsley, Corbin and the training staff.

"Guys (were) making sure everything's cool," Howard said. "I did miss those guys."

Howard got a kick out of his surprise visit to the locker room before Friday's home game.

"Guys wasn't expecting me to be there, so I seen the looks on their faces," he said. "It was cool to be missed."

OFF NIGHT: Twenty-four hours after an 0-for-13 outing, Derrick Favors shrugged off the worst shooting night in Jazz history.

"That was my first time in the NBA having one of those nights, but I've had plenty of those nights before," Favors said. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't even paying attention to it. I was just out there trying to get every rebound, and trying to score."

To Favors' credit, he filled up the boxscore with even more rebounds than missed shots: 14.

Corbin chalked it up to the 20-year-old being "a young guy who's learning his way through it."

Added Corbin: "He did a great job of fighting for shots. People bumped him a little bit in the post — he didn't get the calls — but you know what, he continued to fight."

For the record, Favors made his first shot against the Clippers.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Howard's advice to his team while he works his way back?

"Try to batten down the hatches. Try to make that playoff push seriously now," he said. "Four weeks left until the end of the season. It's going to be a battle for the rest of these weeks, and we've got to get wins."


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