Dwight Howard will not play on Sunday after his back tightened up following Friday's matchup with the Dallas Mavericks. While it's possible Howard's back spasms could be an injury resulting from the wear and tear of the shortened season, Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy had a few other ideas about the cause of his star's problems.
Van Gundy took aim at Brendan Haywood, saying the Mavericks center punched Howard in the back on Friday, causing the injury.
"It's really ridiculous and I want to get it on film and send it in (to the league office)," Van Gundy said Saturday, according to OrlandoMagic.com. "Haywood just punched him literally with a closed fist right in the back. So (Howard) got through the game because he was loose, but then it really tightened up."
Haywood was miffed by the statements and lashed out at Van Gundy for the accusation.
"Man, I don't know what's wrong with Stan," Haywood said after the Mavericks' practice Sunday. "Stan's going to say what Stan wants to say. We don't gotta play them no more. The game's over with.
Both quotes via ESPN.com.
It's quite suspicious that nobody seems to have this on film, and there hasn't been a clear angle as of yet. If Van Gundy hasn't even seen the film, which his quote implies, how can it be proven?
Additionally, banging, bumping, elbowing and whatever else one can think of are a part of the low post game. Every single game -- almost every possession -- the big boys are banging around in the post. Do post battles get dirty? Of course, and even if Haywood did punch Howard, it's not necessarily abnormal.
Now pair that report with this one, about Van Gundy's future in Orlando:
Stan Van Gundy's days with the Magic may be coming to an uncermonious end. With rumors swirling around that the Magic may let Van Gundy go at the end of the year and that Dwight Howard may have been given the power to select his new coach, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reports that many in the Magic front office believe Van Gundy may resign at the end of the year instead of take on the Dwight Howard saga all over again.
Is this the last gasp of a coach trying to win over his superstar? Because, all things considered, picking this battle as one to fight vigorously is a bit odd.
For more on the Magic, head over to Orlando Pinstriped Post.