Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/11/13
Dwight Howard is injured. He is in pain, and it is a pain that would be unbearable to pretty much anybody reading this. That is a fact, as far as we all know, because that is what Howard says and past experiences dealing with players who have torn labrums tells us so. So any discussion about whether Howard really is hurt or whether he needs to just play through the pain is unfair to the 27-year-old center, who had missed just 15 games in his eight-year career prior to this season. Avery Bradley dealt with a torn labrum last season, and like Howard, he tried to play through it. Like Howard, Bradley’s effectiveness dwindled as the pain intensified. Eventually — as Howard may soon be forced to do — Bradley came to grips with the reality of his injury and ended his season early to have surgery once the pain traveled to his other shoulder as well. Nobody knew how much Bradley was hurting, though, because he almost never talked about it. When he did, he downplayed it. And that is the difference between Bradley’s case and what Howard is going through now. Howard, whose ability to play through pain would be laudable if he were not so eager to remind everyone about it, stepped back into the spotlight on Sunday when he told Yahoo! Sports that opposing players are purposefully trying to hurt his ailing shoulder. The Miami Heat “got me early,” he said, causing a shooting pain that limited him the rest of the game. “They would yank it back,” Howard said, adding: “It’s like a jolt.” Well, of course opponents are trying to capitalize on the injury. When a 6-foot-11, 240-pound man is trying to dunk on your head or swat your shot into the third row, you tend to look for every advantage you can find. If that includes giving an extra yank to the arm attached to the bad shoulder, then so be it. Some might call that cheap. If so, then you best believe that your favorite player, whoever it is, is cheap, too, because this is exactly what they would do against someone of Howard’s caliber. One does not need to condone the practice to recognize that it is part of the game. There is one very simple way for Howard to put a stop to this, of course. He can stop playing. He can take a seat and try to wait out the pain, which does not sound like it would be all that effective, or he could accept the reality that surgery is needed and have the procedure done sooner than later. That would bring an end to this season for him — but Los Angeles’ current 4-3 road trip aside, bringing this season to a premature end might not be the worst thing for any member of the Lakers. Or Howard can keep playing, grit his teeth and whenever he is asked about it he can say something boring, like how he is dealing with the pain and taking it one day at a time and blah blah blah. To play or not to play? That is not the full question. Howard has clearly chosen “to play.” The question is in how he approaches his playing. He is gutting through serious pain, as he describes it, and should be lauded for that. Each time he reminds us of his injury, though, even if just a simple statement of fact, it comes off as whining — particularly when his complaint has to do with a perfectly understandable bit of gamesmanship by his opponents. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Max Scherzer scratched from start with neck issue

Michael Beasley tired of not being respected

Chargers OL Russell Okung calls on white players to take public action

Report: Jordan Howard suffered corneal abrasion

AJ Hinch has not heard from MLB about umpire criticism

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

New York radio host has epic meltdown on Aaron Judge caller

Cardinals OC lays down ultimatum about protecting Carson Palmer

WATCH: Drew Brees' accuracy is off the charts

Dirk Koetter won’t commit to Doug Martin starting upon return from suspension

Despite poor preseason, Bills still expect Tyrod Taylor to be Week 1 starter

Le'Veon Bell's agent: Report RB shot down offer is 'false'

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

Best of Yardbarker: NFL goes in on Ezekiel Elliott, NFLPA

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

Box Score 8/18: Reds and Cubs claw through a 23-run game

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

The top 20 left-handed pitchers of all-time

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker