Photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports
And just when you think the Los Angeles Lakers have hit rockbottom, they suffer two more blows in a single day.
First there was the news that Pau Gasol is expected to miss at least six weeks after tearing his plantar fascia in his right leg. This latest injury came during the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. He tried to play through the pain, but eventually asked to be removed from the game and retreated to the locker room.
Without Gasol, and Jordan Hill done for the season, the Lakers desperately need Dwight Howard to return to action. But based on information Howard shared with Stephen A. Smith today, they shouldn’t hold their breath. Howard candidly revealed an update on the status of his back, and it was all bad. To sum everything up in a few words, he said he can’t feel his legs. They go numb and he feels a tingly sensation, even when he’s sitting. He also admitted his shoulder injury is secondary because “the back controls everything.”
Here’s how he described it to Stephen A,
Well for people who have had back surgery they will see it more than a person who never has had back surgery. For me, even sitting down in this chair right now is causing my legs to go numb and having this tingly sensation all the way down my legs. That happens when I’m playing and that happens when I’m just sitting on the bench for a couple of minutes. It’s not easy. There are times when I can’t feel my legs when I’m out there playing. I try to play through it so it’s not just like a situation where everything is back to 100 percent. That stuff takes time. When I got injured my nerves in my legs were short-circuited so basically because of my disk being on my nerves, basically shut everything down from my back all the way down to my toes. That takes time to heal. It usually takes a year and some people take longer. Most of it has healed up in less than three months That’s why I was able to come back and play as fast as I was, but I’m still not ready to play yet.
The Lakers are in serious struggle mode. Obviously. Their below .500 record makes that painfully clear (for Lakers Nation).
As much as I hate to commiserate with Lakers fan, as a Knicks fan I understand their pain. 100%. It’s extremely difficult for a team to develop chemistry when there’s a coaching change midseason and too many key players are being shuffled in and out of the lineup because of injuries. LA, like New York, is also extremely impatient and doesn’t believe in “rebuilding”. Their impatience is what prompted the premature firing of Mike Brown. Steve Nash and Dwight Howard were acquired by LA to win now, not in a year or two. And when Mike Brown wasn’t getting it done early, they panicked because precious time wasted away as the losses added up. But replacing Brown with D’Antoni wasn’t the solution. The Lakers’ roster didn’t suit D’Antoni’s often criticized coaching style. But an offense without two slow-footed injured big men may actually work in the Lakers’ favor. D’Antoni has been gifted the opportunity to employ the type of small ball, pick-n-roll, iso play he favors. If he still believes his offensive style can actually produce wins, now’s his chance to prove it.
For the full interview between Stephen A. Smith and Dwight Howard, go here.