After being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers back in August, Dwight Howard wore trademark smile from ear to ear as it appeared that all his dreams had come true as a result of finally being given the opportunity to play for a storied NBA franchise that competes for championships on an annual basis.
Apparently, Howard wasn’t only excited about playing in Los Angeles for the Lakers, but also the simple fact of being able to play basketball in the NBA once again.
At one point in time, Howard believed his career in the league may have been over as a result of the back injury that required surgery before this past off-season via Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:
Lakers center Dwight Howard said he briefly imagined his career being over eight months ago when doctors said a herniated disc caused nerve damage in his left leg that could have forced him to retire.
“I did for a couple days,” Howard said Saturday night after the Lakers beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Few knew the severity of Howard’s back injury before the Orlando Magic headed into the playoffs last season. Most believed that Howard simply sat out and elected to have surgery due to the fact that a trade was imminent and the consensus was that he’d played his final game for the Magic.
Ultimately, Howard was traded and the injury was much more severe than once thought. The herniated disc required season-ending surgery and Howard’s career was in jeopardy as a result with no telling if the three-time Defensive Player of the Year would bounce back or be the same player after his first major injury in his NBA career.
After the 27 games of the 2012-13 season with the Lakers, Howard is averaging 17.8 points, 11.9 rebounds (3rd in the NBA) and 2.6 blocks (4th) per game. Impressive numbers for a player fresh off of back surgery, wearing a new jersey and playing under the spotlight in Los Angeles.
Although Howard’s numbers are down in comparison to his career averages, the superstar center has played well for the Lakers thus far for a player that isn’t even near 100 percent in terms of his recovery from back surgery. Howard still believes he needs more time to get back to form following the surgery and that’s a scary thought considering how well he might be playing in the near future once back to form.