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Howard hurts shoulder again, Lakers' nightmare continues

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) defends against Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard during the first half of their NBA basketball
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) defends against Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard during the first half of their NBA basketball

(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers' crumbling season suffered a new setback on Wednesday as center Dwight Howard aggravated a shoulder injury in the team's blowout loss to Memphis.

Howard was forced to exit the game in the second quarter and did not return to watch the Lakers being blown away in a 106-93 defeat that was not as close as the score indicated.

He finished with just two points and two rebounds.

"He re-injured his shoulder; I don't know what that means," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters. "They'll re-evaluate him when we get back to Los Angeles."

Howard has missed three games this month because of his shoulder, and the latest injury blow comes at the worst possible time for the spiraling Lakers.

Los Angeles has fallen to 17-25 on the season, well out of the playoff race and in a whirlwind of trade rumors and team dysfunction.

The Lakers held a team meeting prior to the contest against Memphis but it did little to cure their ails as they have now lost 10 of their last 12 games.

"It's been a nightmare, the last few weeks," said Los Angeles point guard Steve Nash. "Dwight getting injured against a big team in the first half ... it's another chapter in a difficult season."

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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