The Orlando Magic will almost certainly not have Dwight Howard for the rest of the regular season due to a herniated disk in his back, but it remains unclear whether Howard will be back for the playoffs. On the one hand, Howard continues to rehab the injury, and his camp is "adamant" that he will be healthy in time for the postseason, according to Joshua Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
However, that optimism is not necessarily shared by Howard's coach. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he is preparing as if Howard will not return for the postseason. Via our own Gethin Coolbaugh:
"No, I'd be surprised. Very surprised," said Van Gundy, prior to Orlando's game against Boston on Wednesday, when asked if he expected Howard back before the playoffs. "What we're saying right now, our approach is that this is our team, not only in the regular season, but in the playoffs. If we get him back, obviously it would be a huge bonus, but we're not expecting that at this point."
Howard and Van Gundy have rarely been on the same page this season, so it makes sense that neither really knows what will ultimately happen once the playoffs begin. The Magic are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind fifth-place Atlanta and three games ahead of seventh-place New York.