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Dwight Howard said his leg felt “dead” from nerve damage

Oct 11, 2012, 11:42 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard poses for photos during NBA media day for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in Los Angeles Reuters

In his first seven seasons in the NBA, Dwight Howard never missed more than four games in a campaign. He’s joked about switching from DC to Marvel, changing his nickname from Superman to Iron Man. (I’m not sure Tony Starks is the guy you want to model your life after, but that’s another debate.)

Up until last year Iron Man was appropriate. And while some commentators — and some fans — wanted to tie Howard’s poorly-handed trade demands to him missing a dozen games last season, that didn’t make sense. Not if you had really watched him in previous years. Howard played through back spasms and other pains last season because he didn’t want to be seen as quitting on his team.

But things got too serious. Howard explained just how serious to the Los Angeles Times.

“What a lot of people don’t know is when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead basically,” the Lakers center said Thursday. “I couldn’t do a calf raise.”

After undergoing surgery in April for a herniated disk, Howard said it took about two months before he could lift his calf off the ground. He was told he would recover fully in about five months but received solid feedback in August.

Howard seems on a road back for a full recovery, reports out of Lakers training camp is that he is moving well. We will see if the grind of the season changes things.

I think has fans we tend to combine things — we hate how Howard handled getting traded out of Orlando, so we magnify his flaws and issues and make him seem a bigger risk than he really is to the Lakers. While the risk of injury hoovers over every NBA player, Howard’s history should earn him a pass on thinking his back issue is chronic already.

  1. superseahawk - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    In all honesty, I think that Helin and the other guy are using poor grammar and spelling purposely to stick it in everyone’s face that complains about it. They have to, no one is that stupid.

  2. prosourcetalk - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    @superseahawk – clearly, you’ve never been to LA

    • cosanostra71 - Oct 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM


  3. proballerslounge - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Who has the most pressure to win a title now?

    • adeedothatswho - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:32 AM


      • zerole00 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        No one cares about your blog, and we definitely you don’t appreciate you spamming the same article in every post.

    • suhnum1fan - Oct 12, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Dwight Coward

      • proballerslounge - Nov 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        this is funny

  4. jerdogthompson - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Well. That’s all folks.

    I’m not a doctor but I stayed at a Holiday inn last night. Call me crazy but that sounds serious. He waits to get to LA before admitting that. I want Bynum back.

    • adeedothatswho - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:42 AM

      You remember Bynum knees, right? I’ll take Howard’s one back issue over Bynum’s two knees.

    • phaden27 - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:45 AM

      Glass Knees Bynum? You just proved ProSourceTalk right.

    • GymAlien - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:24 AM

      That’s the thing about warriors; they don’t know when to quit. Howard clearly played way longer than he should have with the bad back and caused further damage. That’s exactly what we are taught to do as athletes…walk it off… But there’s a time to do the right thing and get treatment. Just look at Kobe’s finger…and Magics’, and a lot of pro players bodies for that matter.
      We, the fans, shouldn’t be so judgmental. Because we contribute to the early deaths of football players, and boxers and…; and the broken bodies of our hero’s.

      GymAlien (with his bad back, swollen knuckled fingers, cracking knees, separated shoulder, carpel tunnel left wrist issues, and left foot permanent plantar fasciitis) said so.

  5. stickesabado - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Im a big laker fan But i don’t feel sorry for him… I’m only 25 and I know exactly what he’s going through except my pain reaches all the way up to my neck… I can touch nerves in my neck, and the whole left side of my body goes numb and feels on fire and just won’t move… shoulder, back hips, all that… starts throbbing or I even get the feeling My phone is ringing because my body will just tremor lol… it really does suck and is freaky because who know’s what could or will happen….only difference is…..You or me go to the Dr. and they tell us they can’t find what’s wrong with us, just try to feed us more pain pills… which depending on who u ask is a good thing, but this guy has the best drs around so they knock all the pain out in a matter of months… yeah I love u being on the squad D12 but I don’t feel sorry for u and your once dead leg lol.. lucky pro athlete pampered lol… could you imagine.. sorry for the rambling I just think about that and how nice it must be

  6. paulhargis53 - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    The article is wrong. It’s lakerluver that wants to “Hoover” every laker…

    • therealhtj - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      I’m almost starting to feel bad for poor Celtics troll.

  7. spideysdog - Oct 12, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    Thank you kurt for telling us how we feel and what kind of risk this is for The Lakers.

  8. ebrownwareagle - Oct 12, 2012 at 8:18 AM


    With that Sick A$$ thought process of yours, your back and nerves aren’t the only thing that’s failing you! You probably need a shrink or Dr Jack.(Kevorkian)

    • stickesabado - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      lol, what a dork…

  9. jerdogthompson - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Wow. The season hasn’t even started and D12 is saying this? First Blake steps on a parking lot spike strip then hill goes down with a herniated disk (which according to the team doctor has the potential to be worse than D12 because it is closer to the pelvis) Kobe has a strained shoulder. If I were a Laker fan I would definitely be concerned.

    Fakerluver this is where you tell me that the NBA season is 82 games, blah, blah , blah. I will give you as many games as you want and Blake will never be a quality PG. Same holds true for Hill, should his condition worsen then guess what, he will be forced to have surgery and then you can choose between Sacre (sp?) at the 5 or you can play Gasoft for extra minutes at the 5. Neither sounds very good to me.

    I think the Laker team song this year should be that old Journey song, “don’t stop believing”, cause that’s all that will be left. A belief of how good this team is on paper and belief that they could have been the best Laker team of all time, etc….,,

    Let the Hater blog replies start in earnest. All because I’m stating fact, just own up to them and accept them as they are. You will feel much better afterwards.

    • limonadamas - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      You guys are right… The margin for the Lakers in terms of health is pretty thin. They have to make it to the postseason healthy and gelled.

      But if they do, it’s going to be a historically fun and memorable ride for Laker fans. This team fits together as well as the 2008 Celtics team that came together and took it all.

  10. paulhargis53 - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    jerdog, you’re quickly becoming my favorite poster. They don’t want to hear the negatives. It’d be different if they’d acknowledgevthe pit falls. It’s just supposed to be a Lakers love fest though.

    Excellent post sir.

    • therealhtj - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      You mean the way bostonians don’t want to believe they would’ve been eliminated in the 2nd round had D Rose’s knee not buckled?

  11. phillyphannn83 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    He’s complaining about his hurt back, yet he’s dancing on Ellen?? He better be 100% if he’s doing crap like that, and I’m not even a Lake fan, clearly.

  12. hoodheisman - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Stickesabado… You should probably start seeing a different spine surgeon. I’m not gonna ask how many back operations you’ve had (from experience my guess is you can’t count them on one hand). There are just as many cowboys out there as there are surgeons. If you go to a “real surgeon” your symptoms should significantly improve with each operation. Look at Howard and Peyton Manning as examples. Both came back and are able to compete at the highest level despite temporary loss of functionality in a limb (leg in Howard’s case and arm in Manning’s case). You’re right in that he has access to the best surgeons, but so do you. We all accept insurance.

    For those critical of Howard’s ability to make a complete recovery, radicular leg pain is the most common symptom with a nerve injury. Typically it arises when a disc in your back becomes out of place presses up against a nerve. Pressure on that nerve can then cause the symptoms that Howard experienced in his leg. Simply putting the disc back in its original position will solve the problem with a complete recovery in 4-6 months.

    • grantwb1 - Oct 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      With all do respect you sound like a spine surgeon that believes in surgery fixes everything. If you know the true nature of the spine you would not be saying that “a disc in your back becomes out of place”. That’s like saying your tire becomes out of place when it blows out… When you have disk issues, your anulus fibrosus (the outer layer) is torn or ruptured by the nucleus pulposus protruding through. It does not move. It blows out. You might also want to google spine operation success numbers. I’ve had two spine surgeries, and have seen the best spine surgeons in the world. The honest ones know that spine surgery is the worst as far as surgery success numbers. Your even crazier to say that “If you go to a “real surgeon” your symptoms should significantly improve with each operation”. The more surgeries you have the more the less chance of being pain free, more scare tissue and such. Not all spine surgeons accept insurance, I know as I have paid cash to half the top surgeons I have seen. They don’t need insurance when they have enough people coming in from around the world to pay cash. When you have spine issues flying across the state or even world becomes a whole different issue, not all people with insurance can get to Marina Del Ray to see those guys. So no normal people do not have access to the top guys in spine surgery unless they live local to them. I have never posted in any comments page, but you are so far off and misleading so many people about something that is really not that easy to fix. And about Payton and Dwight, they have two way different surgeries. Discectomy is totally different from a fusion.

      • GymAlien - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:05 AM


    • stickesabado - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      thanks I appreciate that!

  13. jerdogthompson - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM


    So based upon your allegations of me spamming the board and how “we” don’t appreciate it. I take it you speak for all the Laker fans everywhere?

    When exactly did you get elected to that position or did you self appoint yourself?

    First and foremost by me stating facts about your beloved team does not provide back up for your accusation. Actually the exact opposite is true. Perhaps you can attempt to come up with a compelling argument that would serve as proof to why my facts are baseless perhaps.

    Nah, takes too much critical thinking for you’re liking. It’s much easier to self appoint yourself the voice of the Laker fans and throw around petty accusations. Good work, I cant wait for your next Pulitzer worthy installment as I’m sure it’s forthcoming.

  14. GymAlien - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    I love the idea of this team…Hate to say it, but it’s probably naive to think the Lakers will be healthy come playoff time.

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