Magic's Howard is going for gold

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ORLANDO, Fla. --- Dwight Howard has been brushing up on his Chinese.

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Orlando's Dwight Howard said he's healthy after missing the U.S. Olympic team's practices late last month with a stress fracture to the sternum.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Orlando's Dwight Howard said he's healthy after missing the U.S. Olympic team's practices late last month with a stress fracture to the sternum.

He can already say "hello" and "I love you." Soon, he and his Olympic teammates hope, the All-Star center this summer will add "gold" to that list.

"Everybody wants to see us win, and they're counting on us to win," Howard said Tuesday, preparing for the men's basketball training camp in Las Vegas next week before the team heads to Beijing. "We've really got to be focused over there, and we've really got to keep a level head and stay humble."

Howard also said he's healthy and ready to go. He was held out of practice late last month with a stress fracture to the sternum, an injury he suffered in the Orlando Magic's five-game playoff loss to the Detroit Pistons.

"I tried to play as much as I could through the pain in the playoffs," he said. "I really didn't know anything about it until after the playoffs, that I injured it.

"I got sandwiched -- my shoulders went in and it popped," he said. "It wasn't a good feeling."

Howard, Kobe Bryant , LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd started for a team that went unbeaten in the Olympic qualifying tournament last year. But he is the only true center on the 12-man roster that is trying to redeem the U.S. after a bronze medal disappointment in 2004, when Argentina won the gold.

l The Magic signed veteran free-agent point guard Anthony Johnson .

Johnson will back up starter Jameer Nelson as he enters his 12th NBA season. He played in 69 games last season for the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings.

Johnson had a brief stint with Orlando during the 1999-2000 season, appearing in 18 games.

Timberwolves: Kevin Love had 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds Monday night in his debut for Minnesota at the NBA Summer League.

Love's team was routed by the Dallas Mavericks, 90-74.

The fifth overall selection in last month's draft, Love started slowly and committed four fouls -- the same number of points he scored -- in the first quarter before settling in.

"I had to get the jitters out," Love said. "I was shaking out there a little bit because it hadn't sunk in that I was a NBA player."

LAKERS: Forward Luke Walton will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle Friday.

The surgery will be done in Los Angeles and a timetable for his recovery will be provided afterward, the team said.


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