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Lakers’ Dwight Howard will play against Boston Celtics

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Lakers center Dwight Howard will play for the first time in more than a week, returning Thursday to match up against the Boston Celtics.

Howard missed the last three games, and six overall, because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

He insisted it was a game-time decision until almost tipoff, going through range-of-motion exercises with a Lakers physical therapist before hitting the court for pregame shooting.

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The Lakers would have been very short-handed down low if he weren’t playing. Pau Gasol is out at least six to eight weeks because of a torn plantar fascia in his right foot and Jordan Hill is out for the season because of hip surgery.

The Lakers (23-26) are 3-1 on their seven-game Grammy trip.

The Celtics (25-23) are 5-0 since losing Rajon Rondo because of a season-ending knee injury.

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Lakers at Boston Celtics [Live updates]

Dwight Howard talks about his back and shoulder injuries

Kobe Bryant denies he’s pushing Dwight Howard to play with injury

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