Just when the Lakers looked like they were turning a corner in their star-crossed season, Dwight Howard had to leave their loss to the Suns in the fourth quarter after re-aggravating the same shoulder injury that caused him to miss time earlier in the month.
However, despite the latest setback in his shoulder, Howard currently has no intention of undergoing surgery to fix the underlying issue (courtesy of CBS Sports):
Asked about possibly needing surgery, Howard said, "Not right now." He made clear that he has no intention of "shutting it down" and said the pain is "nothing" compared to his back injury last season.
"Two years with having injuries, it's not something that's easy to deal with," Howard said. "But I won't lose my spirit, and I've just got to continue to do whatever I can to get my shoulder strong."
The loss in Phoenix moved L.A. to 20-26 as they embark on a seven-game Grammy-related road trip that could decide their season. With time running out on getting back into the playoff picture, the Lakers can ill afford to loss their starting center for any amount of time.
However, even if Howard is able to play through the pain, the threat of further injury will loom over L.A. for the rest of the season, which could make an already difficult decision about re-signing him in the off-season even harder.