Dwight Howard back from shoulder injury

Lakers center Dwight Howard has been cleared to play on Sunday night against the Cavaliers.

Howard has been battling with a shoulder injury since Jan. 4, after colliding with Clippers forward Caron Butler. The Lakers big man tried to play through pain but aggravated it the following Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.

The injury was reported as a torn labrum by the Lakers. Howard later corrected the report, saying the labrum was just pulled away from the bone, not torn.

Howard missed three games this week, all losses. The Lakers have dropped six straight.

Pau Gasol was also seen at Staples Center and while he won't play (concussion), he did seem improved since getting hit in the nose by Nuggets center JaVale McGee. Gasol said he was "feeling better." He still has to pass through the league's strict concussion tests before a return.

The Lakers are expected to start Earl Clark in place of Gasol, and rookie Robert Sacre will come off the bench with Howard returning to the starting lineup.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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