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Southwest Notes: Smith, Howard, Mavs

The rash of injuries that have befallen the Rockets could force the team to push injured center Dwight Howard to return to action sooner than anticipated, Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle writes. “We are so down on bodies and we don’t have a lot of practice time,” coach Kevin McHale said. “We might have to start throwing him out there and letting him get some minutes in the game, whether he starts out 15-20 minutes and getting game time. But he has to start playing here pretty soon because otherwise the season is just going to go by and you can’t wait for the playoffs to come back, so we’ll see.” Howard has been out since early February with an injured right knee.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies re-assigned Russ Smith to the Iowa Energy, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This is the sixth trek of the season to the D-League for Smith.
  • Monta Ellis and Rajon Rondo don’t appear to be a good backcourt pairing for the Mavs, which is something that the team will need to consider this summer, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Rondo is set to become an unrestricted free agent and Ellis has a player option worth $8.72MM that he can opt out of.
  • Marc Gasol sounds like a player who is intent on remaining with the Grizzlies, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (subscription required) writes. “I don’t know what factors are going to play into my decision. But you can’t change the past,” Gasol said. “You can’t change where I’ve been for the majority of my life as an adult. My family has been tied to the franchise since the franchise has been in Memphis. You can’t change that. I don’t know what the future holds but I know what the past and the present is. That’s pretty clear.” Gasol will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

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