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Howard has herniated disc in back

Dwight Howard (Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE)
Dwight Howard's tumultuous season is officially over.
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)

Magic center Dwight Howard was diagnosed by a doctor in Los Angeles with a herniated disc in his lower back, a team spokesman said.

Howard sat out the Magic's 109-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Friday night, the fifth game he's missed in Orlando's last seven outings.

Magic spokesman Joel Glass said Howard was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins after Howard flew out there earlier Friday for a second opinion for what had previously been called back spasms since he injured his back at the end of March.

There is no timetable for his return. It will be based on how he responds to treatment.

Howard is scheduled to fly back to Orlando on Saturday.

The Magic are now 1-4 without him this season.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says Howard was in pain following the team's practice Thursday, and the coach wasn't optimistic of him being ready to play at Cleveland on Sunday or against Philadelphia on Monday.

The Magic entered Friday tied in place in the Eastern Conference with Atlanta, though the Hawks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. They remained in the same spot following the loss.

Sitting out his fifth game, Howard set a new personal high for missed games in a season. He missed four games last year.

Prior to this season, Howard had only missed two games in his career due to injury. The rest were either because of illness or suspension.

Tagged: Magic, Dwight Howard

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