Dwight Howard dealt with an awful lot his last year in Orlando. From his indecisive approach to requesting a trade on down to the back injury that cut short an already shortened season it was by any standards a bad year for Howard.
Just how bad things were for DH weren’t exactly known until recently however. Most of us assumed Howard’s bad press was about the worst of his problems prior to the back problems. Come to find out the back problems were pretty much going on long before all the bad press reached its peak.
So bad were Howard’s back problems that at one point he couldn’t feel his left leg or even do a calf raise. It was at that point that it was determined that Howard should be shutdown for the balance of the season in order to receive surgery to correct the issue.
I’m no back specialist but I do know that when you start to lose feeling in certain extremities that generally means some sort of nerve damage. Typically those types of issues prevent most people from returning to physical activity in a timely manner. That Howard is already back to playing hoops again is nothing short of amazing.
It’s also astounding that Howard toughed it out as long as he did with such problems. Howard explains that his contract situation was one of the bigger reasons why he opted not to make any mention of his back problems early on.
“I had some issues early in the season and I just kept playing through it — some back spasms and things. I really didn’t say anything. With all the stuff that was going on, I just didn’t want anybody thinking that I was trying to quit on my team or anything like that. Instead of me just sitting out, I just wanted to keep playing and show everybody that I was still with the team.”
Sometimes pride can be our worst enemy. Howard butchered his handling of the contract situation last season. No doubt about that. But his selfish pride to try and save face through the entire ordeal is what made a bad situation even worse. Come to find out his desire to tough out an injury to save even more face was what could have cost him the season. Perhaps if Howard had sought help earlier things might have been different.
But things happen the way they’re supposed. No matter what Howard was going to need back surgery and no matter how things shook out he was going to be gone from Orlando. Howard is a Laker now and his back is progressing much more rapidly than anticipated. Lesson learned…hopefully.