Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Josh Howard leaves the court after the Jazz open exhibition game at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011.
Eight was a number that I'd always thought about regardless of who had it before me. Fortunately it was open. I'll take it.

SALT LAKE CITY — Josh Howard knew a night on the bench was coming.

His new coach warned him that he wouldn't get in Saturday's scrimmage, so the small forward expected a DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach's Decision) shortly after officially becoming a member of the Utah Jazz.

"Actually, that's the first of my career," the eight-year NBA veteran of 453 games said of the DNP-CD, laughing.

"Let's hope that's the last," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said with a smile.

This one didn't count, of course. He's still without a real DNP-CD. The scrimmage was only about half a game, and it was not a big deal that Howard didn't get in.

Heck, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap got the night off to rest their sore legs, too.

Corbin thought it'd be unfair to put Howard in a situation to run offensive plays he didn't know, and he wanted to reward players who've gone through a tough week of camp with playing time.

Howard did practice for the first time with Utah on Sunday before the team flew off to Portland for Monday's preseason opener. He plans to spend "as much time as I can" this week, cramming the Jazz playbook into his memory so he can start playing and helping the team.

Learning the system won't take too long, the former All-Star said, adding, "I'm a pretty smart guy upstairs when it comes to figuring out plays."

Even though Howard didn't play, seeing him sporting the No. 8 on his Jazz jersey was a shocking sight for some people.

His pal, Devin Harris, has his preferred No. 5, so he went with Option 2. OK, Option 8.

"Eight was a number that I'd always thought about regardless of who had it before me. Fortunately it was open. I'll take it," a grinning Howard said. "I know Deron (Williams) had it, but I guess it's time for change now. Howard has it."

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