Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Howard's agent said Thursday night.
Howard has been complaining of back problems since early March, but it wasn't until Los Angeles-based spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins examined him last week that the herniated disk was discovered.
Howard received an epidural to alleviate the pain at that time and the plan was that he'd rest and rehabilitate his back for 10-14 days before deciding if he could return to play or further treatment might be necessary.
But his back has worsened and both Watkins and the Magic's medical staff determined that surgery is necessary.
Dan Fegan, Howard's agent, said he hopes this development debunks any thoughts that Howard's back problem was not serious and that he was utilizing it as an excuse not to play.
A report out of Orlando said that Howard told Magic owner Rich DeVos in a recent phone call that he did not intend to play again for Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who put Howard in an awkward situation by announcing that management informed him his All-Star center had asked that he be fired. Fegan, along with other sources, have disputed that report.
Howard has repeatedly said, in spite of the Magic's up-and-down performance this season, that he believed the team was capable of winning a championship. Sources say he opted into the last year of his contract, in part, because the Magic threatened to trade him if he didn't, and he wanted to pursue a title with this Magic team before deciding his future.
"Dwight has never laid down once in his entire career," Fegan said. "It's absurd that some publicly, and others privately, speculated that Dwight was laying down or quitting. In fact, he was working his hardest to play through an injury which now requires surgery."
The back issues have forced Howard to miss eight games this season, which is one more than he missed in his first seven seasons combined. His total of 621 games and 22,471 minutes is the most by a center in his first eight seasons in the modern era of the NBA.
I think that playing for SVG is a bunch of bull that someone came up with because they knew Howard was not going to be able to play. It makes for good drama especially since SVG will probably be gone next year.
Also Knicks need to win and hope Orlando starts losing without Howard. Knicks are more dangerous if they are the 6th seed because they can easily win that matchup.
Damn... This is going to get VERY interesting. Dwight has gotten better, but he's mainly still an athlete. It'll be interesting to see how this affects him.
They say that once you operate on a back, it's never the same. Let's hope this doesn't bother him for the rest of his career.
KARMA IS A B I T C H aahahah... smh, i hope hes okay, but Otis Smith prolly feels dumb for not traing him now for the future, and their not going to win at all this year... Sucks for Orlando
Let's hope it's a one time thing.
Back problems take away all of your athleticism.
Look at what back problems have done to Amare Stoudemire as well. And they were older, but back problems ended the careers of Larry Bird and David Robinson too.
This really sucks. Next to LeBron James, he's been one of the NBA's most durable players. I hate to see one of the league's best players suffer such a tough injury. His rehab is going to be critical.
This could get interesting because with his back like this, Bynum is now the best Center in the NBA and it is good Lakers did not move him for Howard which would have been stupid. You don't trade number 2 with for number 1 if number 2 is making 75 percent of number one and give you numbers that are only a few stats numbers off of number 1 and number 1 is older. Althought if you thought that Bynum was injury prone than maybe you had a point but they were all freak accidents. When healthy, Bynum give you offense and defense. His offense is better than Howards but Howard has him on defense by a little.
His trade value is going down the toilet.
Hope he gets healthy. He has to work on a Patrick Ewing style mid-range shooting game now.
Man, this grueling season might be driving Howard, Rose, and Kobe into the ground. I don't know how
LeBron and Durant have anything left.
All I can say is that I hope he gets well soon, I hope one of the best players of our generation doesn't have his prime marred by back problems. Now this may be good for Indiana, whom they will play in round one, but if there was a time for Glen "Big Baby" and Ryan Anderson to make some noise it would be now. Both are capable of scoring, alhthough neither is close to Dwight as far as actual vaule, but could you imagine the front page of ESPN in two weeks having a drooling Big Baby with a gleaming Ryan Anderson in the backround on the right, and a disturbed Howard in a Men's warehouse suit half hartedly clapping after the Magic have improbably tied the series at 2 a piece with the cheesy headline being "Happiest place on earth"? I could definatly see that happening, but I also see them gong down in 5 or 6, so unfortunatly their season is most likely over.
Who replaces him in the Olympics? Chandler? Hibbert?
Bynum, Love or Blake replaces him
Aldridge and/or Chandler replace him.
Bynum and Hibbert aren't even on roster at the moment.
Can people be added to the roster? If so, no doubt Bynum should be added to the pool.
TOL Aldridge is out as well amigo
My 2 cents on the olympic team...
PG Rose (If healthy)
Heres why: The US doesn't need its center to be a scorer, and Chandler is the only true center on the team. This gives them the Rose/James facebreak dynamic, and the Kobe/Durant make something out of nothing half court offense. Rose gets the nod over CP3 because hes the better overall talent, and that is what this is about. Then...
G D Williams
I think all 6 of them are locks. Other than Melo and Wade, Im not sure how many of them will actually play very much though. I could see them using Westbrook with Wade/Melo/Love as the 2nd unit, and bringing in CP3 and Deron in together kind of as the third unit. Last spot comes down to Aldridge or Griffin, depending on a lot of things.
Thanks for pointing that out WizKid, had completely forgot.
I think this locks Chandler in for the Olympics. To be honest, if I were Bynum, I would just rest this off-season. It's his first complete season in a while and he played it at a high level and the schedule was much more demanding. I think by the time the season ends, his body will want to relax for a while and the Olympics will be far from his mind.
I would like to see them add a collegian like they did in 1992 with Christian Laettner. Antony Davis would be a good pickup.
He could play the 4 and 5 spots and would be the best shot blocker on the team.
If Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Rondo are not eligible then I would go with this team that features a bunch of superstars as well as some role players.
PG: Chris Paul
SG: D Wade
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler
PG: Derrick Rose
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Kevin Love
C: Anthony Davis
PG: Deron Williams
Iggy is my last guy in since Kobe might not play much. Kobe is gonna be my senior captain who will see limited minutes.
I thought about putting Bosh in but Love and Anthony Davis are legit 4's with Chandler playing in the middle. Carmelo
and LeBron can play the stretch 4 as can Iggy.
This team gives me 9 superstars, a utility wing player in Iggy, a low post defender in Tyson Chandler, and a young, athletic shot blocker in
Anthony Davis who won't demand too many minutes. The offense will run through those 9 superstars and those guys will get most of the shots.
The other three role players will defend, rebound, block shots, do the dirty work, and throw down alley-oop dunks. I think that it will be a well-rounded team.
will start and wade will come off the bench but that team, aside from love and durant have no real three point shooters may be a weakness. would love to see chandler in it. hopefully hell be a multiple time nba champion, this years dpoy and future gold medalist sounds like a great reseme
as far as the howard new feel sorry for him but might be a good thing for my knicks. but i actually dont wanna play orlando in playoffs seems like perfect cinderella story in the making to me.
"aside from love and durant have no real three point shooters may be a weakness"
You have to remember, the three-point line in FIBA is a lot shorter, especially from the corner. Carmelo, Paul, LeBron, Kobe, and Deron Williams would be very good three-point shooters in FIBA. Rose and Westbrook would be decent shooters.
The Dwightmare for the Magic is over....well at least for this season.
For all the crap Howard put the Magic, his teammates, fans, and SVG through this pass season, its fitting he doesnt even play in the playoffs. Looks like he wont be on the Olympics either, which is great because it opens a spot for someone like Chandler, who would be a boarderline canidate to make the roster.
Tyson Chandler is a no-brainer for the Olympics now that Dwight Howard is out.
Team USA doesn't use Howard as an offensive option in the Olympics to be honest. Chandler will be able to do a lot of the same things.
Team USA could be looking A LOT different than we all thought. We already know Howard and Lamarcus Aldridge won't be there. I'd have picked Lamar Odom to replace Aldridge, but he probably won't even be there considering his personal issues. That spot will come down between Blake Griffin and Kevin Love now. Will be interesting to see who makes it between those two.
There's even a possibility Derrick Rose may not be there considering all of his injuries, which will make adding Russell Westbrook a no brainer.