The tumultuous season for the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard is about to come to an end.
After dealing with back issues towards the end of the season, Howard will have back surgery tomorrow to repair a herniated disk, ending his season and his participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics according to Howard’s agent.
Howard received an epidural to alleviate the pain at that time, and the plan was that he’d rest and rehabilitate his back for 10-14 days before deciding if he could return to play or further treatment might be necessary.
But his back has worsened and both Watkins and the Magic’s medical staff determined that surgery is necessary.
Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, said he hopes this development debunks any thoughts that Howard’s back problem was not serious and that he was utilizing it as an excuse not to play.
Talk about a season for the Magic, Howard, Stan Van Gundy and the rest of the team. After dealing with his contract, reports of Howard wanting Van Gundy fired, and his future with the Magic, it has come to this — the team having to ultimately play without their star center to complete the season and enter the playoffs.
Without Howard, the Magic might not go deep into the playoffs considering Howard presented other teams a major issue to deal with and players like Glen Davis, Earl Clark, and Daniel Orton just can’t match what Dwight brings to the table. So now it seems to be a two-team race to the Finals (Chicago and Miami) now that Howard is done for the season.
And although this couldn’t come at a worse time for the Magic with the playoffs about to start, getting his back repaired and have him at full strength next season will be key not only for Orlando but for other teams looking to add or trade for him should he elect not to stay with the Magic.
However, now it is public Dwight has back issues, it should put other teams on notice. Should they spend most of their cap space on a player with a bad back? Will he now get a long term contract either from Orlando or another team now that he has a weakened back? And if a future trade is on the table, with another team want to gut their roster to bring in a center with this type of health issue?
This might bode well for Orlando though should another team be leery about adding Howard. With the Magic, he will be able to secure a long term contract (longer than any other team) should be elect to be a free agent after next season; something another team won’t do now that Howard’s back issues are public.
Take New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire. New York gave him a max deal, 5-year deal, even though he was previously dealing with back issues while in Phoenix and now he has been sidelined with back issues himself.
So before any team, including the Magic, offer Howard a lucrative deal, they might want to be 100% sure Howard’s back won’t be an issue.