<
>

Dwight Howard to be checked Thu.

MEMPHIS -- Dwight Howard aggravated the torn labrum in his right shoulder late in the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers' 106-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night and did not return to the game.

While trying to fight through a screen by the Grizzlies' Rudy Gay, Howard hurt his shoulder, forcing him to exit the game with 2:21 remaining in the second quarter.

"It felt real bad," Howard said after the game while making his way to the Lakers' team bus. "I didn't want to try to play through it because I didn't want to hurt it any worse, so (the Lakers' training staff) asked me not to play."

Howard will be evaluated Thursday in Los Angeles by a shoulder specialist. He did not know whether he would be available to play when the Lakers host the Utah Jazz on Friday.

"I'll see what he says and then go from there," Howard said.

The All-Star center said he still was experiencing discomfort in the shoulder after the game.

"I still feel it," Howard said. "It's still aggravated. It's something that I'm going to have to learn how to cope with. The biggest thing is just getting it stronger so it won't continue to bother me."

Howard recently missed three games with the torn labrum after originally hurting the shoulder when he got tangled up with Caron Butler during the Lakers' 107-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 4. The Lakers went 0-3 without him.

"It was pretty much good. I was doing all the (rehabilitation) work with it every day and then this happened," Howard said.

The Lakers are 2-4 since the nine-year veteran returned to action.

Howard finished with just two points and two rebounds while shooting 0-of-4 from the field in 14 minutes against the Grizzlies.

After the team's morning shootaround Wednesday, Howard vowed to "bring it" so the Lakers could begin to turn around their disappointing season.

"I have to be more," Howard said before the game. "I have to do more for this team. There are a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. I have to step up and take it. It has to be me. It has to start with me. I'm a guy that has to dominate for us to win. We're not going to win unless I dominate."