Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard is getting closer to full clearance in his recovery from spinal surgery, taking part both Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon in some 5-on-5, limited-contact action in Lakers practice.

Howard still is not approved to advance to full-scale scrimmaging and won’t play in the exhibition opener Sunday night in Fresno against the Golden State Warriors, Lakers spokesman John Black said Thursday.

That’s in keeping with the careful rehabilitation from April 20 back surgery that the player and team agreed upon, but the Lakers don’t see much that Howard can’t do already.

“Doesn’t look like he’s hurting a bit,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said.

– Reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register