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Utah Jazz: Dwight Howard out; Marvin Williams back in starting lineup

Published: Monday, March 17 2014 6:23 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz's power forward Marvin Williams (2) screams in celebration as the Utah Jazz and the Atlanta Hawks play Monday, March 10, 2014 in EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City. Hawks won 112-110. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Utah Jazz's power forward Marvin Williams (2) screams in celebration as the Utah Jazz and the Atlanta Hawks play Monday, March 10, 2014 in EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City. Hawks won 112-110. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

HOUSTON — Derrick Favors won't have to go from playing against Tim Duncan to Dwight Howard, after all.

Though the Jazz center was looking forward to a matchup with the Rockets' big man, Howard will sit out tonight's game (6 p.m. tipoff) because of a mild left ankle strain.

This will be the first absence this season for Howard, who is scoring 18.6 points and grabbing 12.4 rebounds a game. He only averaged 15.0 points and nine rebounds in the two games Houston split against the Jazz earlier this season.

It's likely the Rockets will go with Turkish center Omer Asik in Howard's place.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are going back to their regular rotation, with power forward Marvin Williams replacing Enes Kanter in the starting lineup. Kanter started Friday when Williams was out with a lower back strain and remained in the first five in Sunday's loss at San Antonio despite the veteran's return.

Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) passes around the defense of Houston Rockets power forward Dwight Howard (12) to Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) during a game at EnergySolutions Arena on Monday, December 2, 2013.  (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) passes around the defense of Houston Rockets power forward Dwight Howard (12) to Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) during a game at EnergySolutions Arena on Monday, December 2, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

The Jazz (22-45) are hoping to snap out of a four-game losing streak and a slump in which they've lost nine of 10.

The Rockets (44-22) are in their first three-game losing streak of the season but have won eight straight at the Toyota Center.

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