Howard has been complaining of back problems since early March. An examination by Los Angeles-based spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed the cervical fusion surgery on NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, revealed a herniated disk that will be repaired on Friday morning in Los Angeles.
After missing seven games during the first seven seasons of his NBA career, Howard has missed eight of the last 10 games because of his back. While the injury will end his 2012 season and 2012 Olympic opportunity, Howard does not believe the surgery will affect him over the long-term.
"The doctor said it's a one-inch incision," Howard told ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard. "He said I can start rehab right away and be back to full contact in four months. So I'm not really concerned. If anything, I'll come back stronger."
Back surgery is the latest development in what has been a tumultuous month for Howard, who decided not to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Magic, but reportedly wants head coach Stan Van Gundy fired after this season. The back and forth of that drama is chronicled in this StoryStream.
For more on Howard and the Magic, be sure to visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.