Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard’s emotion filled season has come to an end according to a report from the “Orlando Sentinel” Thursday night will undergo surgery Friday morning to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. The procedure will keep the big man sidelined for the NBA Playoffs as well as prohibit him from playing this summer in the 2012 Olympic Games which will be held in London. The loss of their starting center for the Post Season could very well lead to an early exit for the Magic in this year’s Post Season.
Howard will have the procedure performed by Robert Watkins on Friday morning after physicians, the player and his team all decided that Howard would not be able to play through the pain. Orlando General Manager Otis Smith told reporters “After consulting with the two doctors, it’s in his best interests to have surgery sooner rather than later. Basically, the situation is not getting better. I’m not saying it got worse. It’s just not getting better. It’s disappointing not to have a full roster, but it’s been that kind of season not just for us but for everybody: full of ups and downs. We just have to continue to endure, continue to fight and continue to do the things we’ve been doing from Day One with the understanding that when your best player’s not on the floor, everybody else has to step up.”
The surgery will put an end to a campaign that was filled with talks of trades, departures and differences of philosophy almost from the day the club’s season began. Most of the year was consumed by discussion of whether the Magic would trade the All-Star or allow him to possibly walk away from the team this summer via Free Agency. That conversation came to an end when Howard signed a waiver that will keep him from opting out of the last year of his present deal, and means he will be in a Magic uniform for at least one more season.
The last week was filled by reports from a Orlando TV station that Howard had told Magic Team Owner Rich DeVos that he would sit out the Playoffs this year because he could no longer stomach playing for the team’s head coach Stan Van Gundy. The reports stated that the big man was angry at his coach for revealing that the station’s earlier reports were true; that Howard had gone to Orlando’s top management team of DeVos and Team CEO Alex Martins asking for Van Gundy to be fired.
What ever the situation is between its franchise player and bench boss that will have to wait for the off-season as Van Gundy needs to try to get together a winning game plan that will feature Glen “Big Baby” Davis in the pivot instead of the best center of his generation on the floor. As of Thursday night the Magic are the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff chase; which would have them heading to Indiana for the first game of their first round series. With the strides that Pacers center Roy Hibbert has made this season, Orlando could indeed be cleaning out their lockers early this year.