|Dwight Howard will undergo season-ending back surgery. (Getty Images)|
Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard will undergo season-ending surgery on his back, according to ESPN.com.
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Howard's agent said Thursday night.Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirmed the plans for season-ending surgery Thursday night with both Howard's agent and an official for the Magic.
Dan Fegan, Howard's agent, said he hopes this development debunks any thoughts that Howard's back problem was not serious and that he was utilizing it as an excuse not to play.
"Dwight has never laid down once in his entire career," Fegan said. "It's absurd that some publicly, and others privately, speculated that Dwight was laying down or quitting. In fact, he was working his hardest to play through an injury which now requires surgery."
Agent Dan Fegan confirms that Dwight Howard will have season-ending back surgery in Los Angeles. Magic official also acknowledges the news.ESPN.com also reported the following statement from Howard.
Fegan: "He has a herniated disk ... and the tear got worse. They tried their best to rehab it, but (two) doctors agreed surgery is needed."
Howard will fly to L.A. tomorrow and have surgery [Friday afternoon]. Magic medical staff and spinal surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins agree on diagnosis.
"It hurts (emotionally) with people saying I'm quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse... The Doctor said I can start rehab right away and be back to full contact in 4 months... If anything, I'll come back stronger."Earlier this week, Howard travelled to Los Angeles to receive a second opinion on his ailing back.
Howard, 26, has missed Orlando's last six games because of the injury, last taking the court on April 7. The perennial All-NBA performer has posted averages of 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals per game this season.
The Magic are currently 36-26 on the season and in the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Over the last several weeks, Howard has been involved in a public back-and-forth with coach Stan Van Gundy after he reportedly requested that Magic ownership fire Van Gundy, a detail that the coach revealed to the media earlier this month.
Prior to that, Howard publicly requested a trade before waffling in advance of this year's deadline, ultimately deciding to stick around in Orlando.