NBA AM: What Does Surgery Mean For Dwight?
Scary Decision For Howard: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo surgery today in Los Angeles at the Watkins Spine Center bringing a close to his 2011-2012 NBA season.
“It hurts (emotionally),” Howard told ESPN’s Chris Broussard. “That’s the first thing — it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I’m quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse.”
“The doctor said it’s a one-inch incision,” Howard told Broussard. “He said I can start rehab right away and be back to full contact in four months. So I’m not really concerned. If anything, I’ll come back stronger.”
Howard told Broussard he’d been having back problems since March and that this surgery is about relieving the pain he is in now and insuring the injury is resolved going forward.
“That’s why I’m doing the surgery now, so I won’t have any problems with my back again,” Howard said.
Howard plans to be with his teammates as soon as he is able, and says even being sidelined he hopes for the best with the Magic.
“If the guys come together, we still have a chance,” Howard said. “I know what we have in that locker room. I’ve seen it in spurts this season. I’ve told them, ‘We don’t have to be the biggest or the strongest, we just have to believe.’”
Howard was asked about reports from Orlando suggesting that he called Magic owner Rich DeVos in his suite during Friday’s Atlanta Hawks game. The report suggested that Howard told DeVos he would not play for Stan Van Gundy again.
Howard and his camp have emphatically denied the report.
“I was getting an epidural during the game,” Howard said. “I had no idea what was going on with the game until the third quarter. That’s when I woke up. I couldn’t have talked to him, because I was out of it.”
The Magic are currently 36-26 on the season which is good enough for 6th place in the East. The Magic are three games up on New York with both teams having four games left on the schedule.
The Magic will see three teams with a record of .500 or better (Utah, Denver and Memphis) their lone remaining home game is versus Charlotte on Wednesday.
The Knicks have just two games remaining versus teams with a record above .500 (the Hawks and Clippers) the remaining two games versus sub .500 teams are the Cavaliers tonight in Cleveland and at Charlotte next Thursday.
The magic number for Orlando to remain in the 6th spot is two… any combination of Magic wins and Knick losses that equals two locks Orlando into a first round match up with Indiana.
IN RELATED: Over the last six months a lot has been said about Orlando’s Dwight Howard, most of which is credited to sources and people close to the situation.
While that’s how sports reporting is done, and HOOPSWORLD is no different, there is something unfair going on with Dwight that’s simply can’t be avoided.
There is an agenda at work.
The information you are getting from various outlets comes with a very clear and purposeful agenda attached, and it is a little more than unfair to Dwight. He is being saddled with things he has never said or done, but because “sources” say he has… the court of public opinion simply has jumped on board and buys into it.
It is rumor-mongering in the worst way and it’s being done with intent to hurt.
This isn’t about revealing information General Managers or players don’t want you to know, like leaking a trade or a free agent move. This is about trying to hurt someone. It’s about taking pleasure in causing hardship to another person.
It’s malicious, it’s nasty and it’s petty.
For those that have been suggesting that Howard quit on the Magic, yesterday’s news that Howard would be undergoing season-ending back surgery should put those conspiracy theorists to bed. Howard’s Olympics plans are now out the window and his $100 million payday is now clearly at risk.
Back surgery is no joke. People in and around Dwight’s life were hopeful that rest and treatment could avoid what could be a career killer of an injury.
The typical recovery time on a herniated disc is 6 to 8 weeks depending on the severity of the surgery, but that window does not take into account the recovery time an athlete of Dwight Howard’s size and function. Dwight takes a beating in his back on a nightly basis and his game is 100% predicated on being able to jump and bounce. The big fear is that this injury could take up to six months to completely recover from, meaning Dwight’s status for NBA training camp in September is somewhat in question.
It also means any suggestion of the Magic trading Howard this off-season comes off the table as well. The trade value for Howard coming off of back surgery in the final year of his contract is not going to be high.
The good news for Orlando is there is a really real window for the Magic to bet on the future and try to lock Howard into a long-term contract extension playing off the fear and uncertainty surrounding his back. There is substantial risk, but do the Magic bet the farm on Howard’s back?
For those suggesting that the injury was an elaborate plot not to play for Stan Van Gundy, keep in mind Howard was receiving round-the-clock treatment and was in unbearable pain and discomfort.
Has Dwight Howard handled his situation in Orlando with tact and poise? No, he really hasn’t. It’s been a PR nightmare for Dwight and he has handled this about as poorly as it could be handled.
Does that mean he’s this villain that is tanking the post-season because he is a petulant baby? Absolutely not.
There is an agenda at work in all of this and it’s incredibly unfair to Dwight Howard – his career is clearly in question for the first time in his life and some people are opting to pile on. That’s incredibly unfair and it’s being done with a purposely hurtful agenda.
You Call It – DPOY : The post-season awards continue to roll on: Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving was your vote for Rookie of the Year, Oklahoma City’s James Harden ran away with the Sixth Man of the year vote, Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova continues to receive votes for Most Improved, winning that vote in a walk. Leaving us with Executive of The Year…
LA Clippers executive Neil Olshey gets the nod, although in early goings it was a close race, however Olshey has since distanced himself enough to call him the winner.
The results looked like this:
Neil Olshey – LA Clippers (35%, 459 Votes), Larry Bird – Indiana (22%, 288 Votes), Mitch Kupchak – LA Lakers (20%, 264 Votes), RC Buford – San Antonio (13%, 167 Votes), Sam Presti – Oklahoma City (6%, 84 Votes), John Paxson – Chicago (4%, 48 Votes)
So next up:
Lester Goes To Memphis: Lester Hudson is a prolific scorer. Everywhere he has landed he has put up amazing offensive numbers when given the chance, and with the Cleveland Cavaliers opting not to guarantee Hudson a spot next year, he declined their offer of a second 10-day contract and has shopped out his services.
It did not take long for Hudson, whose 10-day deal with Cleveland ended Sunday, to find a new home, word is he has agreed to a verbal deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Hudson has averaged 14.5 points on 40.3% field goal shooting in April which is far from stellar, but it was his 23 point outing versus Toronto, his 26 points versus New jersey and 25 points versus Charlotte that got everyone attention.
Hudson is eligible for the post-season as he was not waived by Cleveland – his contract simply expired.
Word is Memphis guaranteed some cash into next season, which is why they will end up with Hudson once the paperwork is cleared.
The Grizzlies roster stands at fourteen players, so adding Lester won’t require anyone to be cut.
Lester was drafted by the Boston Celtics with 58th pick in 2009. He has seen time with the Grizzlies who claimed him in 2010 and the Wizards and the Cavaliers.
Hudson played for Qingdao DoubleStar in the Chinese Basketball Association and was the second leading scorer behind JR Smith. Hudson averaged 33.6 points per game in the CBA this year and averaged 21.6 point per game last season.
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