He is gone.
Not forever but for the rest of this season, Dwight Howard is finished playing basketball for the Orlando Magic.
The herniated disk that has ailed him for the last two weeks will now require season ending back surgery.
Howard saw his specialist in L.A. and learned that his condition had worsened on Thursday. As a result the Magic’s medical staff and spine specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins, recommended that the All-star center have surgery.
“The doctor said it’s a one-inch incision,” Howard told ESPN. “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.”
Incidentally the four month rehab time will also keep Howard out of this year’s Olympics.
The loss of Howard for the Orlando Magic is larger than the man himself. However, it is in a very twisted way a relief for Stan Van Gundy. Not in the basketball sense involving X’s and O’s but in the sense that some of the drama and talk will cease off the court regarding their very publicly strained relationship.
Rumors and drama have stormed the Magic season like strong tides in attempts to wash away any hopes of a positive outcome this post season. Earlier in the day another rumor emerged when WKMG in Orlando updated the following story:
New details have emerged from Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore’s Monday report that Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard no longer wants to play for head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Pingalore has learned Wednesday from multiple NBA and team sources that Howard called Magic Owner Rich DeVos Friday night, telling the 86-year-old that he will no longer play for head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Pingalore was told through sources that have direct knowledge of the call that it was taken in the DeVos suite at Amway Center by DeVos sometime during the Magic’s game with the Atlanta Hawks.
According to the sources, Howard is still upset with Van Gundy, confirming Pingalore’s report from earlier this month that Howard went to Magic management asking for Van Gundy to be fired.
Sources confirm the call to DeVos came after Howard visited Los Angeles to get diagnosed for his sore back.
That bombshell and sensational report has been denied, as expected with Howard saying:
“I was getting an epidural during the game, 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.”
Questions about the legitimacy of Howard’s injury also have been in question with some reports saying he was milking his injury in order to avoid playing for Van Gundy again.
” It hurts. 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.” said Howard.
I will be the first person to say that Howard, Van Gundy, and the Magic front office have blundered their way through this season. All of them could have and should have made better decisions involving matters that should have remained private.
But Dwight Howard is not a quitter (he had missed only two games in his career prior to this year). Van Gundy is not a bad coach and the Magic front office is pretty classy by all other accounts.
The Magic are very likely to get bounced in the first round as they just are not talented enough without Howard to beat anyone in the conference north of them in the standings.
Summer will come early in Orlando and the faster they can get out of the spotlight to put this disaster of a season behind them the absolute better.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com