Howard was scratched from Friday night's game at Minnesota with a sore right shoulder and returned to Los Angeles to receive platelet-rich plasma treatments.
"It's extremely sore all over," Howard told reporters before the game. "[Saturday] after the procedure it was real stiff, but there's nothing I can do about it right now."
The All-Star center flew from L.A. to Detroit to rejoin the team Saturday evening but informed the Lakers he would not be able to play as the team boarded the bus Sunday morning on their way to the arena.
"As soon as the pain goes away he'll play," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Hopefully that's the next game, but there are no guarantees. It's just day to day. They'll check it every day and see when he can go."
The Lakers play the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday -- the team that Howard ranked as his preferred destination when the Orlando Magic were entertaining trade offers in the offseason -- but Howard hinted that he could miss that game as well.
"We'll see how it feels, but right now I'm just going to take it day by day," Howard said. "We have a couple of days in New York to get some good rest and try to get it strong as possible. But the main thing is for the rest of the season. I don't want to have this happen every week or two to where I'm fine and then I take a hard hit and I reaggravate it."
Just as he did following the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Suns on Wednesday, Howard would not entertain any questions about surgery possibly being required on his shoulder.
"I don't even want to think about surgery," Howard said.
"He's going to always have to deal with it because it's not going to go away," said D'Antoni. "It's a little bit of a tear that won't go away. If it gets totally bad then you have to do something [like surgery], but the way it is right now, you just have to deal with it."
Howard said he hoped the PRP treatments would start to kick in within the next week, and he will rely on prayer in the meantime.
It's the same injury that kept him out of three games in January; the Lakers went 0-3 in his absence.
Howard aggravated it against Phoenix, when Suns guard Shannon Brown swiped down on Howard's arms as the big man attempted to bring the ball up from his waist to the basket, in similar fashion to how he originally hurt his shoulder on a hit on his arms from Los Angeles Clippers forward Caron Butler.
"He has to learn to get the ball under his chin and not take it down," D'Antoni said. "He has a habit of taking it down [by his waist]. That's when they're loading up on him and they don't care about him shooting foul shots, so they just unload on him. That's a problem, but hopefully he can get that out of his game and not bring it down as much."
Following the Phoenix game, Kobe Bryant said he suffered a similar shoulder injury in the past and that Howard would have to learn how to play through it. Howard took exception to the comparison.
"Me and Kobe play two different positions," Howard said. "The position I play, I use a lot of force coming up -- whether that's going up for a dunk or a shot, hook shots ... all that stuff you have to make sure your shoulder is stable for it, so it's a little bit different than, I would say, a guard position. You got guys who are 260-270 [pounds] that you are holding off and you got to really be strong in your shoulder and all that stuff."
Howard said he will continue to work on his conditioning while he rehabs the shoulder injury and joked that it will give him an opportunity to work on his left hand.
"There are certain treatments that I can do, certain things that I'll try to work on to get it stronger," Howard said. "We have the best training staff here in the NBA, so I'm going to continue to work with them on a daily basis to get stronger."
Pau Gasol started his second consecutive game in Howard's place as Howard watched the game from the bench in his warm-ups.
The Pistons, meanwhile, are still without guard Jose Calderon, whom they acquired from Toronto in a trade Wednesday. Calderon, from Spain, has been unavailable to play because of unresolved visa issues.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.