Dwight Howard sits; Rudy Gobert back in lineup for Jazz

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard missed Thursday's 103-94 win against the Utah Jazz because of lower back tightness.

Howard missed the majority of the preseason and was limited in his play during the early portions of the regular season with back tightness.

Howard has played well this season, averaging 13.9 points per game and ranking third in the NBA with 11.7 rebounds per game. He is second in the league in field goal percentage at .617.

In his last 10 games, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12 rebounds per game and shot 67.0 percent from the field. He was ruled out shortly before the game after playing a season-high 41 minutes on Monday. Despite his absence, the Rockets had a 48-42 advantage in points in the paint.

Clint Capela, the Rockets' starting power forward, replaced Howard as starting center, scoring seven points on 2-of-6 shooting and adding 10 rebounds and three steals. Terrence Jones moved into the starting lineup at power forward and went 6-of-10 from the field for 14 points and added eight rebounds.

Howard has now missed seven games, one because of a suspension and the other six because of rest or back-related issues.

The Jazz welcomed rising center Rudy Gobert back into the lineup. Gobert, who had missed the last 18 games with a left knee ligament sprain, had six points in 15 minutes.

"This game was to see how I was feeling, and I felt great. I wasn't tired at all,'' Gobert said. "I've been working hard for a month, and my knee wasn't really bad.''

Discussing how much the team has missed Gobert, Snyder said before the game, "Just like any team would miss a player of his caliber, the same way the Rockets would miss Dwight Howard and the Spurs would miss Tim Duncan. For us, he's unique in his value to our team because of what he's capable of doing on the defensive end."

Gobert has averaged 9.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game this season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.