Dwight Howard, for one, won’t be on hand Saturday when the Lakers plan to reopen their practice facility, with the blessing of L.A. County health officials. On a limited basis, the team is expected to open their doors at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic…Lakers plan to reopen practice facility, but for now Dwight Howard will stay in Georgia with family — Daily News
“I’m in Georgia right now,” Howard said Friday afternoon on a Zoom video conference with reporters. “Probably will stay here right now until everything is cleared up, until we can leave. I would love to go back to L.A. and start working out with the team and everything like that, but I’ve been training here and once everything opens up, then I can travel on to L.A. and start working.”
In accordance with those set forth by public health officials, the NBA has issued guidelines for teams that have begun reopening their training facilities for voluntary, social-distanced workouts:
• No more than four players will be permitted at a facility at any one time;
• No head or assistant coaches can participate;
• Group activity (including practices and scrimmages) remains prohibited;
• Players continue to be barred from using non-team facilities (such as public health clubs or fitness centers) to work out.
Howard — who is surrounded by family at his Georgia home as he grieves the loss of his son’s mother, Melissa Rios, a few weeks ago — said he and his teammates don’t have concerns about the NBA’s rules for returning. They’re most concerned with getting back to their championship chase, he said.
“I think everybody’s anxious to get back playing,” Howard said. “I think we’ve all felt like this was our season and this was our time. It’s more so everyone’s just anxious to play.”
As for how Howard feels about potentially playing at a single site, sans fans, as some have suggested?
“I want to go to L.A.,” said the 6-foot-10 showman, who famously feeds off the crowd’s energy. “I want to play in front of Laker Nation, that’s what I want to do. I don’t know how we could play a game without our fans, I don’t know how anybody could … it’s like that’s the energy — we feed off that, we feed off the crowd. Especially at home.”
Games without fans might most disadvantage the Lakers, considering widespread support they’re used to in every NBA city.
“Everywhere’s at home for us,” noted Howard, who was averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in fewer than 20 minutes per game when the season was suspended with the 49-14 Lakers sitting atop the Western Conference standings.
“When we’re hearing ‘Ko-be, Ko-be” or whatever we’re hearing, that gives us more energy. ….