The Orlando Magic and center Dwight Howard received some devastating news on Friday according to a report from the “Orlando Sentinel” on Friday night. The All-Star center was examined in Southern California on Friday to be examined by spinal surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins and diagnosed with a herniated disc in his lower back.
Howard is on the shelf indefinitely; it is unclear whether he will be able to take the court agin either in the remaining games of the regular campaign or if he will be able to perform in the Playoffs. If Howard is unable to play in the Post Season, the Magic would have a tough time making any sort of inroads in the Playoffs and could face a first round exit.
The most dominant player in the pivot of his generation started feeling discomfort in his lower back on March 30. He was starting to feel better and took part in the club’s practice on Thursday, at which time he re-injured his back. The team placed a call to Dr. Watkins and Howard as well as the club’s physical therapist flew to the West Coast. Watkins was the second physician that the big man had seen for the problem. Magic team spokesman Joel Glass told reporters “His return will be determined in how he responds to treatment.”
The big man will be treated with conservative measures over the next few weeks, in hopes that he responds and will be able to avoid surgery at least until the end of the season. Orlando has a record of 34-25 after being beaten by the Atlanta Hawks 109-81 on Friday night and are the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff chase. Even if Howard is out for the last seven games of the regular season; the team should still make the Playoffs as they hold a five game advantage over the ninth team in the Conference the Milwaukee Bucks. A more realistic concern is that they could blow their three game lead over New York and Philadelphia who fill the seventh and eighth slots. That would put them up against either Chicago or Miami in the opening round.