Dwight Howard wants to play

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Dwight Howard said he intends to play in this weekend's NBA All-Star Game as long as he doesn't aggravate the torn labrum in his right shoulder during the Los Angeles Lakers' final two games before the break.

"Hopefully I'll be able to play," Howard said before the Lakers practiced Monday. "If I were to re-aggravate my shoulder in these next two games, I'd probably just play a couple minutes (in the All-Star Game) and sit the rest of it out."

Howard has missed six games with the shoulder injury this season, most recently three contests on the Lakers' recently completed seven-game Grammy road trip.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said he doesn't have a problem with Howard playing in the All Star Game, despite the injury.

"Resting is not going to help it, so he might as well play," D'Antoni said. "He can get hit and need a couple of days to get the pain away and he'll be back. But he can do it. Obviously we practiced today and he can do it in practice."

Howard said that playing in the All-Star Game is important to him because of what it means to the fans, but that he won't risk further injury if he doesn't feel healthy enough.

Instead of sitting out completely though, Howard likely would start the game alongside teammate Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, then come out after a few minutes.

"It's important but at the same time, my health is more important," said Howard, who is making his seventh All-Star appearance. "I just want to make sure I'm healthy for the rest of the season. [The] All-Star Game is one game and it doesn't really count for our team. So if I'm healthy enough to go out there and play as long as I can, then I'll play."