Dwight Howard Needs Back Surgery, Will Reportedly Miss Playoffs And Olympics

Dwight Howard's herniated disk will reportedly require surgery, knocking the All-NBA center out of the postseason for the Orlando Magic and the London Olympics for Team USA.

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Dwight Howard's Weird Year Ends With Season-Ending Back Surgery

Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic put together a story worthy of writing a book about this season, considering all of the twists and turns that have happened over the last six months. That story is reportedly coming to a close, however, as the All-Star center has apparently elected to have season-ending back surgery.

Howard began to make headlines when he made the list of teams he wanted to be traded to public, angering many and confusing others when he decided just before the NBA trade deadline that he wanted to stay in Orlando for another season (albeit with some interesting reasoning).

Following that long national nightmare, Howard's relationship with head coach Stan Van Gundy was thrusted into the spotlight. The most awkward moment came at a recent press conference, though reports this week indicated it may have been even uglier behind the scenes.

Fortunately -- or unfortunately, depending which side one is on -- the season-long Dwightmare has come to a close, as ESPN's Ric Bucher reported on the season-ending surgery late Thursday night.

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery on Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Howard's agent said on Thursday night.

For what it's worth, that Howard will need surgery should effectively end the rumors that he was faking an injury to get out of playing for Van Gundy the rest of the season. That, Howard said in the ESPN story, is what hurt him the most.

"It hurts (emotionally)," Howard told ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard. "That's the first thing -- it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I'm quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse."

For more on Howard and the Magic, be sure to visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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Dwight Howard To Undergo Surgery, Will Miss Playoffs And Olympics, According To Report

Surgery to repair a herniated disk will keep Dwight Howard out for the 2012 NBA Playoffs and 2012 Summer Olympics.

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Dwight Howard Injury Leaves Magic In Dire Straits, But Playoff Bid Remains Likely

To say that the Orlando Magic are in trouble with Dwight Howard's injury is an understatement. The All-NBA center has been remarkably durable over his career, missing just 12 games over eight seasons, five of those this season as Howard deals with a herniated disk in his back that could end his 2011-12 campaign.

Over the last four seasons, the Magic have a record of 200-93 (.685) when Howard plays, and just 4-8 (.333) when he sits. Not only is Howard a great player that makes a huge impact on both ends of the floor, but Orlando's offensive system under Stan Van Gundy is completely tailored around having a dominant low post presence who can open up the perimeter for a bevy of shooters. Howard is one of few centers in the entire league with whom the system would work; needless to say, the Magic do not have a proxy on the roster, which forces Orlando out of its comfort zone. (Losing Hedo Turkoglu during this spell hurts, too. That's one less creative playmaker Van Gundy has at his disposal, especially problematic given the pre-existing lack of playmaking ability the team has dealt with since the 2008-09 season.)

Can the Magic actually fall out of the playoffs with Howard on the shelf? Orlando's magic number is two: any combination of two Magic wins and Milwaukee Bucks losses will confirm the team's participation in the postseason, likely against the Indiana Pacers. The Magic swept the Bucks 4-0 this season within the span of three weeks.

For more on Howard's injury and the Magic's prospects, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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