Report: Howard says he will have back surgery
Dwight Howard’s season is over. His chances to help Team USA win
another Olympic gold are likely done, too.
Orlando’s All-Star center told ESPN.com he will have
season-ending back surgery, and Magic general manager Otis Smith
confirmed the plan to the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday night.
”It’s in his best interests to have surgery sooner rather than
later,” Smith told the newspaper.
Friday’s operation in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk
also will keep him from playing in the Olympics in London, Howard’s
agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com.
”I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse,”
Howard told ESPN.com
Howard has been dealing with back problems since early March,
but it wasn’t until last week that a doctor discovered the
”He said I can start rehab right away and be back to full
contact in four months,” Howard told ESPN.com. ”So I’m not really
concerned. If anything, I’ll come back stronger.”
Howard has missed the last six games because of the injury.
Orlando holds the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and
coach Stan Van Gundy said last week that he was preparing to play
the rest of the season without Howard.
Now it looks as if Team USA will have to plan to play without
Howard as well.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Thursday night he
hadn’t been told of Howard’s plans and it was too early to
speculate on the Olympic team.
The final roster of 12 players and six alternates is due June 18
and the U.S. may have to consider increasing its pool of possible
candidates with Howard out and fellow big man LaMarcus Aldridge
iffy following right hip surgery.
”I understand exactly who’s involved,” Colangelo said. ”The
only thing I don’t know is the extent of Dwight Howard’s situation,
and I really want to find out more about that. But we may have to
consider, you know, invitations to a couple (other) players. That’s
a possibility. We’ll talk about it.”
The Miami Heat may see Orlando in the playoffs. When the news of
Howard’s surgery hit their locker room Thursday night, Heat stars
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade – both likely Olympic-teamers – wished
Howard well and said it was disappointing not to have him in the
mix for the London Games.
”He’s a big part of our team for the Olympics and I hate to
lose him because of an injury,” James said. ”I wish him the
The surgery is the latest development in the Magic’s soap-opera
season that has grabbed more attention than the team’s record.
Howard was the subject of season-long trade rumors until
declaring in February his intention to remain in Orlando for one
more year. The controversy continued earlier this month when Van
Gundy said Howard asked team management to fire him. Howard has
since denied that. Another report from an Orlando television
station this week said Howard called Magic owner Rich DeVos to say
he was refusing to play for Van Gundy again.
Before this season, Howard had only missed two games in his
career because of injury.
Howard is averaging 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds.
The Magic also have been playing without Hedo Turkoglu (facial
fracture) since April 5. He’s averaging 10.7 points and is shooting
34.9 percent on 3-pointers.
With Howard and Turkoglu sidelined, Van Gundy has started Glen
Davis at center with Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson at forward.
J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson start in the backcourt.