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Dwight Howard to have back surgery Friday; out for playoffs, Olympics

Apr 19, 2012, 9:45 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

And it’s official — the Orlando Magic are the team everyone wants to face in the first round.

Dwight Howard will not be back for the playoffs because he is going to have surgery on the herniated disc in his back, his agent told Ric Bucher of ESPN.

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Howard’s agent said Thursday night…

Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, said he hopes this development debunks any thoughts that Howard’s back problem was not serious and that he was utilizing it as an excuse not to play.

Howard had an epidural on his back and was going to receive treatment and be re-evaluated close to the playoffs, but there had been no progress and surgery was the next option.

“It hurts (emotionally),” Howard told ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard. “That’s the first thing — it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I’m quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse.”

Howard was a lock to make the Team USA for the Olympics and this opens up a space for a rim-protecting center that could now well go to Tyson Chandler. Mike Krzyzewski has some tough choices ahead there.

Howard should be able to return from this surgery for next season in Orlando.

Howard’s agent also denied that the star center had called the team owner and said he would never play again for coach Stan Van Gundy.

After his recovery this summer all the drama around the team will still be there waiting for him in Orlando next fall — he almost certainly will have a new coach (nobody expects Van Gundy back now) but will the Magic bring in enough talent to get Howard to sign a contract extension. It’s hard to see how they will and next year could be another year of a soap opera surrounding Orlando.

But that all now has to wait on back surgery for Howard.

  1. thatboi901 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Hope they insert a spine while they are in there…

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Too bad. Thanks for the 6 seed. THEY BETTER LOSE OUT.

  3. 69jaredallen69 - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    While he is out he might want to hire someone to work on his image

  4. digitaldonnie - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Now we know why he. REALLY chose to stick around another year in ORL

  5. alicewestcoast - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Great surgeon. He fixed my spine
    and it was wonderful.

  6. bchapman2011 - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    I don’t believe one word from howards camp. I would bet all I own thag he is not having back surgery. He is probably holding the magic h? ostage forcing them to lie and say he is having surgery or he wont resign with them. The timing of his so called injury is too big of a coincedence. This guy is a bum and whoever trades for him next year is signing up for d nonstop drama and misery

  7. namriverrat69 - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Let’s see, he screwed his teammates, he screwed the ownership, and he really screwed the good loyal fans of Orlando. The one person he didn’t screw was Stan Van Gundy. Everyone knew he was gone at the end of the year. And actually the person he screwed the most was himself.

    I’ve had triple neck fusion from herniated discs and I have a herniated L5S1. I am miserable all the time. I can understand his opting for surgery if that was his last option and he was as bad as he claims he is but if he opted for it as an excuse to get over on Van Gundy he should be banished to European league.

    I love basketball but all these tempermental basketball players make me love the NHL so much more.

  8. willcoop - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    I hope some of the surgery they perform is of the brain and heart variety.

  9. willcoop - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    This slug does not even deserve to be an alternate on the Olympic team. A guy like Tyson Chandler who has putbin the work and paid some dues is a way better choice and he is a way better pro.

  10. thatguywhoisactuallyamiamisportsfan - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Howard is OVERRATED.

  11. buffalowned - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    somewhere greg monroe and roy hibbert are smiling at the thought of a gold medal

  12. storebrandcookies - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    No mention of Andrew Bynum? Second best center behind Howard, or is there an issue on why he can’t play?

    • therealhtj - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      I was thinking the same thing. Wouldn’t Bynum be the next logical choice? Although Laker fans should be happy as those knees need all the rest they can get.

  13. 24thesho - Apr 20, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Howard is blessed with height, physique, and athletic ability. He can’t shoot, he is not a real leader, he can’t pass, he’s a fake Slam Dunk Champion, he’s very immature and had obviously been sheltered his whole life and the sports media had been giving him a free pass the whole time. If a center doesn’t want to listen to “Patrick Ewing” and learn the center position for real, the he will continue to be a mediocre player whose only 2 skills will always be jumping and dunking. What a punk.

  14. seattlesuperchronic - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    Dwight Howard, what have you done??? I don’t have an opinion on whether he’s lying about his back, but all this drama is the worst. I hope Stan Van ends up coaching a real contender. Otis Smith has ruined the Magic. Dear Magic, may Stan Van haunt your dreams.

  15. sackbombs - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    You think hes faking it? Grow up

  16. tomtravis76 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    So,USA basketball needs to make a roster exemption with Howard and Aldridge out. Coach K and Jerry need to add Bynum to the team- plus he has earned the spot.

    Guards- Paul, Rose, Wade, Kobe

    Forwards – Lebron, Carmelo, Durant, Kevin Love, Bosh,

    Centers- Bynum, Tyson Chander

    The 12th spot is a tough one – Rudy Gay, Westbrook, Blake or Deron.

    I think you give it to Blake, because of the impact he could make on the international stage, he could be the face of USA basketball leading up to 2016 Brazil. The experience he would gain in London is important.

  17. AlohaMrHand - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    performing today’s surgery will be dr Stan Van Gundy…

  18. ezmagic - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    It’s funny to see all you haters come out and take shots at a guy who has only missed 4 games in his 7 yr career. Yes he’s a drama queen but so are all superstars. Tyson chandler is an avg center. He’s not even that great of a defender. The Knicks are in the same position they were last year. Which means Tyson hasn’t really improved them much.

    • limonadamas - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      wow… your argument is ridiculously simplistic. i guess you only look at stats and standings to form your opinions? there’s no way you actually look at games or play basketball if you think that Chandler’s not a fantastic defensive center, both individually and in the team defensive concept.

  19. rooney24 - Apr 20, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    How long after he signed his non-opt out did his back issues “appear”? Makes you wonder if he started having issues earlier, and knew he wouldn’t get as large of a contract over the summer with back issues. Now, the Magic pay for the surgery, and he can rehab and show (at some point next season) that he is ready to go and sign a big deal in the summer of 2013. I don’t know that there is anything fishy, but you have to wonder a little bit.

    • gmen4life33 - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      if he didnt opt-in, he would have been traded, and would have signed a contract the day after being traded for max money. so no

  20. gmen4life33 - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    USA Basketball needs to leave Tyson Chandler alone. Dude already has a history of injury, no need for him to play those extra minutes in the summer. Get Bynum and someone else. Damn I know coach K is going to want Chandler because of his attitude

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