Asked Friday whether Howard could miss the start of the regular season, Carlisle replied: "Stay tuned."
"Giving a timetable was probably a mistake. We have to play this by ear," Carlisle said. "I'll probably announce it the day he is going to play -- whether that is in two weeks or a month or a month and a half."
Dallas opens the regular season Oct. 27.
Howard averaged 18 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, missing 30 games.
Forward Shawn Marion was to play Friday against Washington after missing Dallas' preseason opener Monday with a calf injury.