Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Dwight Howard’s Laker Debut Could Be Delayed


The Lakers already knew they were getting damaged goods when they traded for Dwight Howard. That’s not news in any way. Howard’s back was a back page story until all the trade talk trumped injury concerns. While we might be months away from the start of the season there is already talk of Howard being out of action once the Lake Show begins its title quest.

One report states Howard still has yet to be cleared for either weight lifting or any basketball related activities. Meanwhile the L.A. Times has already put together lineups and scenarios that could unfold for the Lakers should they be Howard-less once the season tips.

Now if the media is speculating on this then you’ve got to believe the Lakers are preparing for the same. How could they not?

Before any talk of a Howard trade commenced Mitch Kupchak would have had to do his due diligence. That means not only examining Howard’s back for future problems but also putting a plan in place to play without him.

During the offseason the Lakers did address some of their depth issues amongst their post players. Jordan Hill was retained, Antawn Jamison signed and Robert Sacre drafted. Of course they also lost some size in dealing Andrew Bynum as part of the Howard trade.

Losing Bynum hardly matters so long as Howard is healthy. However minus Howard the Lakers are stuck playing Pau Gasol at the five or possibly starting Hill in the middle instead. Whatever the case Mike Brown just needs a Plan B in place.

Big men with back problems tend to be troubled by those issues throughout their careers. Assuming Howard will rehab, come into the season in shape and ready to play 30+ minutes is foolish.  He’s going to miss some time or at least be limited early on. That could work in L.A.’s favor though as there will be plenty of adjustments this season and the more roles more players are familiar with the better.

Bottom line is the Lakers appear headed to a season opener without Howard. Coach Brown had better be prepared for it even if that’s not the case. He might only be entering his second season in Los Angeles yet already the seat is getting hot for Brown. Same goes for Howard who will have to prove not only his health but also his championship pedigree. Too bad we most likely won’t get any of those answers on opening night.

Tags: Dwight Howard Los Angeles Lakers

  • Lakers will win it all!

    i had the same surgery (discectomy on L4-L5) as Dwight on November 9th, 2011, and was back playing squash by April (only 5 months). Anyone who plays squash at a pretty high level knows it’s very ballistic with tons of lunging, twisting, and intense cardio. I’m a fitness fanatic, and was diligent with my rehab…and I’m also 47 years old. Dwight is only 26 or 27 years old, and I’m sure his rehab is 24/7 with the best medical attention available. Dwight’s surgery was April 20th and opening night is over 6 months from his surgery. He should be able to play by then.

    • Chris Shellcroft

      Thanks for sharing! Always great to get info from someone that’s been there and done that. I hope that Howard is able to bounce back as quickly as you did. Getting everyone on the same page is going to be crucial. Keep in mind Howard is still planning on testing free agency and Kobe is already talking about playing two more years then walking away. This is a critical a season as we’ve seen in Lakerland in some time.