Skip to content

Dwight Howard says his poor conditioning has cost the Lakers ‘a lot of games’

Feb 24, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Anyone who’s watched Dwight Howard play in a Lakers jersey this season knows that he’s nowhere near the all-world center he used to be during his years with the Orlando Magic.

Howard underwent back surgery during the offseason, and while he’s recovered enough to physically be back out on the court, doctors familiar with that type of injury will tell you that the recovery time is a solid year, and that’s exactly how long we can expect to go by before Howard is back playing at the level we’re accustomed to seeing him play on anywhere near a consistent basis.

In addition to the back issues, Howard suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder earlier this season, and is playing through the pain rather than choosing to have surgery which would shut him down for the rest of the year.

Howard is tougher than most have given him credit for, and after battling public perception for the first part of this season as to where the blame ultimately lies for the Lakers’ underachievement, he’s finally taking responsibility for his part in this season’s mess.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles:

“You’ve got to have energy and I want to bring that energy every night,” Howard said in a revealing interview Saturday afternoon. “That’s my job. They count on me to be that guy. I just know how much more effective I will be when I’m in better shape. And, unfortunately, it’s cost us a lot of games.”

Howard said his conditioning has improved throughout the season, but he’s still “not even close” to where he wants to be, and where he once was before undergoing back surgery in the offseason.

“I knew that would be a process. The better shape I’m in, the more active I can be and the more I’m able to do on the floor,” he said. “But it was a struggle at first because I just didn’t have it in the tank, especially on defense.”

Again, this is not news for anyone who’s watched Howard and the Lakers remotely closely this season. But his comments are important nonetheless.

As has been said many times, no matter what happens with the Lakers this season, the goal of the team is to sign Howard this summer to a max contract extension, making him the face of the franchise for years to come long after Kobe Bryant decides to retire.

The fact that Howard is owning up publicly to his role in this season’s disappointment may mean he’s turning the corner a bit — both in terms of how he views his place on the team, as well as how he may be feeling about his long-term prospects in Los Angeles.

Latest Posts
  1. Timofey Mozgov not pushing to leave Nuggets in trade to Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao

    Mozgov could play with LeBron James, for David Blatt (his Russian national team coach)

  2. Jodie Meeks wants to bring some Kobe Bryant work ethic to Detroit

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    The young Pistons could use this kind of locker room leader.

  3. Ray Allen on making a decision about next season: “I’m not in any rush”

    Sep 2, 2014, 7:59 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Four Getty Images

    “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.” —Ray Allen

  4. FIBA World Cup Day 3 roundup: Pau Gasol drops 26 on Brazil as Spain looks dominant

    Sep 2, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    Anderson Varejao, Pau Gasol AP

    Pau Gasol dropped 26 on Brazil, grabbed 9 boards and even blocked Nene at the rim.

  5. Derrick Rose after first back-to-back in years: “I’m feeling good right now”

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    “I’m feeling good right now. Just trying to get in better shape, get in better condition, so that when I do need to score the ball, then it’ll be there.” —Derrick Rose

  6. Kings waive Wayne Ellington

    Sep 1, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Ellington, acquired in trade from Knicks, likely stretched

  7. Pacers to sign Chris Singleton

    Sep 1, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    chris-singleton Getty Images

    Former Wizard provides depth at small forward following Paul George’s injury

  8. Mason Plumlee wants you to know Duke, Nike had nothing to do with him making Team USA

    Sep 1, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Finland v USA Getty Images

    “If you were at our practices and our training camp, anybody that was there, they would see why I made the team.” —Mason Plumlee

  9. Elephant dunks a basketball?

    Sep 1, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Elephant dunks a basketball.

  10. Report: Rajon Rondo wants to start season with Celtics, see how things unfold

    Sep 1, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT

    Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    This makes more sense, but he could get moved near the deadline.

  11. Report: Clippers close to deal with Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gary Neal Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gary Neal

    This would be a solid pickup for the bench, especially at the league minimum.

  12. Heat demote two assistants to hire Juwan Howard

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo lose bench spots, could stay with Miami

  13. Kevin Durant confirms he is staying with Nike

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    12-390_Nike_KDV_Upper_Detail-02_original

    This is a win for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.

  14. James Harden with more bad defense in USA’s win over Turkey (VIDEO)

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Team USA Practice Session Getty Images

    Harden’s reputation on the defensive end of the floor continues to grow.

  15. Rajon Rondo’s agent denies they asked Celtics for a trade

    Sep 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    Whether he asked out or not doesn’t really change his situation much.

  16. Report: Hedo Turkoglu nearing free agent deal to return to Clippers

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Turkoglu didn’t do much in L.A. last year, but Chris Paul recently touted the importance of consistency in the Clippers’ chances for success next season.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3224)
  2. T. Mozgov (2332)
  3. K. Bryant (2327)
  4. J. Embiid (2184)
  5. R. Allen (2098)
  1. K. Love (2087)
  2. L. James (2069)
  3. R. Rondo (2050)
  4. C. Delfino (2019)
  5. D. Waiters (1934)