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Fans appeal to Howard

Back on the floor: As preseason games begin Saturday, the Knicks’ Toney Douglas, a former Seminole, dives for a ball past the Nets’ Sundiata Gaines, right. The Knicks won 92-83.

Associated Press

Back on the floor: As preseason games begin Saturday, the Knicks’ Toney Douglas, a former Seminole, dives for a ball past the Nets’ Sundiata Gaines, right. The Knicks won 92-83.

ORLANDO — It's another week before the Magic opens regular-season play. But that doesn't mean fans are waiting to show star center Dwight Howard how much they want him to stay in town.

In his first on-court appearance in front of fans since making a trade request, Howard was greeted to an ovation from about 9,000 fans when he was introduced during a public scrimmage Saturday at Amway Center.

The All-Star has spent each of his seven seasons in Orlando, but he asked management to be traded shortly after training camp opened.

Many fans wore Howard's No. 12 jersey and held signs that read "Superman, This Is Your Metropolis."

The standing ovation was special for Howard, he said.

"It was emotional," he said. "It was great to see their reaction. And like I've told you guys from Day 1, I love this city. … When I came here, everybody called our team the Orlando Tragic. I wanted to change it. Nobody says Tragic anymore."

Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, has permission to discuss trades with the Mavericks, Nets and Lakers. Howard can opt out of his contract in July.

Orlando plays the first of its two preseason games today vs. the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami (6 p.m., FSN).

Fortunate physical: Celtics forward Jeff Green will have surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm and will miss the season, the team said. Green, 25, is scheduled for an operation Monday. Doctors told him the operation "should completely repair Green's condition and that he can expect to resume his NBA career next season," the Celtics said in a statement. His camp physical revealed the aortic aneurysm, which is a ballooning of the wall of the aorta, the major artery that carries blood from the heart to the body. A person may show no symptoms of the aneurysm, but if it ruptures, it is likely to be fatal if not repaired immediately.

former Gator a Rocket: Second-round draft pick Chandler Parsons, last season's SEC player of the year at Florida, signed a four-year deal worth $3.7 million, his agent said.

Clippers: Recently acquired guard Chris Paul had his first full practice. Coach Vinny Del Negro said he plans to start a backcourt of Paul and Chauncey Billups, with Mo Williams coming off the bench.

Pistons: Restricted free agent Rodney Stuckey signed a contract worth $25 million over three years, the Associated Press reported.

Preseason Openers: Ricky Rubio's slick passing (seven assists) in his NBA debut impressed the home crowd as the Timberwolves beat the Bucks 117-96 victory. Rubio also had six points and six rebounds, eliciting chants of "Ole!" in homage to his Spanish roots. No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams scored 14 for Minnesota in coach Rick Adelman's debut. … Carmelo Anthony scored 17 in three quarters and the Knicks beat the host Nets 92-83. … Luis Scola scored 20 and the host Rockets beat the Spurs 101-87.

Fans appeal to Howard 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 11:52pm]
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