Howard's broken left foot healed quicker than expected. The sophomore -- an important component of Maryland's ball movement, depth and defense -- had originally looked at a January return or even a redshirt season.
"We are a different team," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Thursday in announcing that Howard would return Friday night. The slick-passing player probably won't start immediately, Turgeon said, as he works back into shape.
Maryland will have 7-foot-1 center Alex Len available for the Dec. 28 Albany game. The promising shot blocker -- who has been practicing with the team -- will have missed 10 games as a penalty for previously having played with a club overseas.
Having Howard and Len back should bolster the Terps before the Atlantic Coast Conference season begins next month.
Sophomore Terrell Stoglin and freshman Nick Faust have been playing the point in Howard's absence.
With Howard back, Turgeon said Faust's burden will be eased. He said the freshman will be able to focus more on other things. Faust is big enough to play a swingman position, and is a good offensive rebounder.