Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/13/12
NEW YORK Dwight Howard has a message for anybody criticizing him. Settle down. The Lakers center wanted to remind everybody he was still not 100 percent. "I wasn't even supposed to be playing until January and I'm playing now. What do you expect?" he said after the Lakers' shoot-around Thursday afternoon. They play the New York Knicks tonight. Howard has been criticized because of his inaccurate free-throw shooting and also for some subpar games on offense, most recently a 3-for-9 shooting effort Tuesday in the Lakers' 100-94 loss to Cleveland. Howard reminded people who "expected me to be high-flying" that he had back surgery last April to repair a herniated disk. "I'm not in terrific shape," he said. "I'm still working through that. I have a long way to go. Only thing I can do is continue to play as hard as I can." Meanwhile, the Lakers will be without Pau Gasol a sixth consecutive game because of knee tendinitis. They are 1-4 without him and searching for answers. Two Lakers greats Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson even had a recent phone conversation, Bryant revealed Thursday. The presumed topic: what to do with the Lakers, who are 9-13 overall, 2-7 on the road. Johnson has been a vocal critic of Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's push-the-pace offense. Johnson also wants D'Antoni to create more activity for Gasol near the basket. Mike Bresnahan
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marshawn Lynch ejected for shoving referee

WATCH: Kiké Hernandez blows Game 5 open with grand slam

Aaron Rodgers undergoes surgery to repair broken collarbone

Groundbreaking for Raiders' new Las Vegas stadium set for next month

Redskins' Jay Gruden throws tremendous praise Carson Wentz's way

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as manager

Former Cowboys exec: Dak Prescott won't ever be as good as Carson Wentz

Jameis Winston will be full participant in Friday's practice

Tennessee grocery store calls for Butch Jones' firing with amazing cake

Giants owner: McAdoo was not pressured to give up play-calling

Report: Red Sox to name Alex Cora manager after ALCS

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

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.

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

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