Captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out of Wales' final autumn Test against South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday.
The Welsh Rugby Union said that Cardiff Blues flanker Warburton suffered an injury during training on Tuesday.
Prop Gethin Jenkins will skipper the side, with Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty forming Wales' back-row against the Springboks.
Centre Jamie Roberts is dropped to the bench for a second time in three Tests - Scott Williams again replaces him - while Howley recalls a number of players who sat out last weekend's tense victory over Japan, including wing George North, fly-half Dan Biggar and lock Luke Charteris.
And Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau, who has played less than an hour of competitive rugby since he suffered a knee ligament injury in early September, joins Roberts among the replacements, where Sam Davies - Wales' drop-goal matchwinner against Japan - also features.
Elsewhere, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams again swap positions, with Toulon star Halfpenny reverting to full-back and Williams, who this week was linked with a move to English and European champions Saracens, back on the wing.
Howley said that Warburton had "picked up a bit of a stringer injury." Stinger-type injuries normally impact on the shoulder and neck area.
Warburton missed Wales' opening autumn game against Australia as he began his comeback from a cheekbone injury for the Blues that weekend.
"We've made just one change in the back-row," Howley added.
"Sam picked up a bit of a stinger injury on Tuesday and isn't quite ready, so Dan comes in. Dan played particularly well against Japan, so we are pleased he gets the opportunity again.
"We were pleased with the win against Argentina (Wales beat the Pumas 24-20 12 days ago) so have gone with virtually the same team for South Africa.
""It's good to have Taulupe back in the squad. He will add a good impact from the bench.
"And we are delighted with Sam (Davies). He showed individual composure and accuracy last weekend, and he gets another opportunity on the bench, as he did against Australia.
"There is the tinge of disappointment in terms of performance against Japan, and we want to put that right.
"Not only are we looking to win this weekend, we want a performance to go with it."
Wales have only beaten South Africa twice in 31 attempts, although they triumphed 12-6 when the Springboks last played them in Cardiff two years ago.
But the Springboks are reeling from a dismal 2016, suffering seven defeats, including last week's reversal against Italy in Florence.
Wales team to face South Africa:
L Halfpenny (Toulon); G North (Northampton), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), G Davies (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, capt), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), L Charteris (Bath), A W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), R Moriarty (Gloucester).
Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), N Smith (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), C Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), T Faletau (Bath), Lloyd Wiliams (Cardiff Blues), S Davies (Ospreys), J Roberts (Harlequins).Reuse content