Most doctors would tell Dwight Howard that he returned from back surgery too quickly to make his Los Angeles Lakers debut. Howard’s season ended last April when he went under the knife, and he returned to action just six months later. He undoubtedly felt pressure to make his Lakers debut as quickly as possible.
On Tuesday, Howard said he does not regret coming back sooner than he should have.
“Looking back on it, I could have sat out the whole season until now and starting playing now, but I just felt like we had such a great opportunity,” he said according to the LA Times. “Some of these guys, their windows for winning are very small, and I just wanted to get back and try to do whatever I can to help this team, knowing that I wasn’t in great shape. My body wasn’t all the way there yet.”
Howard has not been playing at 100% health all season, and his game has been criticized as a result. Between his back and shoulder, Dwight has not been anything close to the dominating force he was in Orlando. However, he said he has received support from people like Phil Jackson.
“I’ve had people really just help me out,” Howard said, via ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Guys like Phil [Jackson], he texts me and he understands how it is to come off back surgery. He just said it takes a full year to recover, so you can’t beat yourself up over the things that have happened this year.”
Despite some of the incredibly dumb things Howard has said this year that have not helped his public image, it’s obvious he has been playing hurt. Laker fans may be disappointed with the way things have turned out, but Howard has clearly been in pain throughout most of the season. If he was healthy, things may be going differently for the team at the moment.
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