Dwight Howard ready to try out back-to-backs

HOUSTON -- The Rockets are getting the full Dwight Howard back.

The Rockets' star center said Wednesday he'll participate in back-to-backs for the first time this season when the team visits the New York Knicks on Sunday and the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Howard hasn't participated in back-to-backs this season as he has built up his game conditioning. He played in just one preseason game after his back started to tighten. When that occurred, the Rockets elected to bring him along slowly so he could get in game condition.

"They want to make sure I don't kill myself in both games," said Howard, who is averaging 13.8 points and 13.6 rebounds per game in nine contests. "So maybe 20 to 25 minutes each night until the season gets better. Right now the main thing is making sure I stay in shape, stay strong and healthy and trust my body."

The Rockets play in a NBA-high 20 back-to-backs and already have had four.

"I'm ready to try it out," Howard said. "They didn't want me to start off the season playing back-to-back and putting a big load on myself. But the main thing is my body is feeling pretty good, and I haven't had any setbacks all season. I'm looking forward to it, even though I won't be playing as many minutes as I did in a regular game, just going out there and being able to battle for two nights in a row."

The Rockets have started slowly this season, taking a 5-9 record into Wednesday night's game against the Grizzlies.