Have the Los Angeles Lakers encountered any bad news this off-season? First, the team swooped in out of nowhere and acquired Steve Nash. Then, they picked up Dwight Howard for a steal of a deal. Now, those people who thought that the Lakers would start the 2012-13 season without Howard due to injury may need to think again.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Howard is pushing hard to make it back for the Lakers' season opener against the Dallas Mavericks on October 30th. Only five months removed from back surgery, D12 has "privately indicated his back has returned to 85 percent strength." Still, the 26-year-old center will need doctor's clearance before he can engage in training camp, which opens on Tuesday.

As expected, the Lakers are making sure that they remain cautious with rushing Howard back onto the court since the franchise would like to make him their cornerstone player once Kobe Bryant retires.          

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[via Yahoo! Sports]