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Kobe Bryant: Dwight Howard must 'be patient' with recovery

If Kobe Bryant could give Dwight Howard some advice as the Lakers center recovers from back surgery, it would be to listen to his body.

"Be patient, be smart," Bryant said.

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Howard, who had back surgery in April, made his Lakers debut Sunday. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

The following day, however, Howard wasn't feeling so hot.

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"He was pretty sore the next day," Bryant said. "But all in all, i think it was pretty positive."

Bryant cautioned Howard to take it easy as he regains his strength and finds his rhythm.

"You gotta listen to your body, that's really the biggest thing, listening to your body and not trying to get too far ahead of yourself," Bryant said.

Bryant was quick to offer the advice to his teammate, but he has always held back while recovering from his own aches and pains.

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Last season, while nursing a torn ligament in his right wrist, Bryant went on a four-game streak in mid-January in which he scored at least 40 points a game. After suffering a concussion and a broken nose during the All-Star game, he scored at least 30 points in the next three games.

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Howard had a similar no-holds-barred mentality Sunday, as he dunked and took hard falls on the court.

Bryant may not entirely endorse that approach for Howard, but he understands it.

"I knew he was going to go out there and perform well," he said.

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