He has worked out with Lakers trainers the last few days and might return a bit earlier than expected.
Howard was initially injured Jan. 4 against the Clippers and showed no ill effects in the Lakers' next game, tying his career-high with 26 rebounds against Denver. But his shoulder continued to bother him and an MRI exam showed a slight tear, forcing him to the sidelines.
Pau Gasol will miss his fourth game because of a concussion. He did some light shooting and elliptical work Sunday morning but was not cleared to play against Cleveland, Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said.
The Lakers (15-21) have lost six consecutive games and are only 10-9 at home.
They play Milwaukee on Tuesday and Miami on Thursday. Both games are at Staples Center.