Dwight Howard’s tumultuous 2011-12 season ended in back surgery right before the playoffs started.At the time, there were whispers out of Orlando that Howard went to Magic ownership and said he would never play for coach Stan Van Gundy again. Howard vehemently denied those rumours. But nonetheless, the back surgery was contextualized as a part of the larger Dwightmare, and the injury itself was more or less an afterthought.
In this morning’s LA Times, Howard talked about the injury, and revealed details that should inject doubt into the minds of people who think the Lakers are going to cruise into the Finals this year:
“What a lot of people don’t know is when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead basically,” the Lakers centre said Thursday. “I couldn’t do a calf raise.”
After undergoing surgery in April for a herniated disk, Howard said it took about two months before he could lift his calf off the ground. He was told he would recover fully in about five months but received solid feedback in August.
He couldn’t feel his leg?
Howard is an unprecedented physical specimen. But we all know how quickly NBA big men can break down physically. The injury Dwight had was serious, yet it got lost in the shuffle of all the chaos that was going on in Orlando last year.
The Lakers expect Howard back for the opener. It’ll be interesting to see if he can stay on the court and be the game-changing sure-thing player expects him to be.
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