Orlando’s All-Star center told ESPN.com he will have season-ending back surgery. His chances to help Team USA win another Olympic gold are likely done, too.
Friday’s operation in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk also will keep him from playing in the Olympics in London, Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com.
Read full story after the jump”I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse,” Howard told ESPN.com. Howard has been dealing with back problems since early March, but it wasn’t until last week that a doctor discovered the herniated disk.
”He said I can start rehab right away and be back to full contact in four months,” Howard told ESPN.com. ”So I’m not really concerned. If anything, I’ll come back stronger.”
Howard has missed the last six games because of the injury. Orlando holds the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and coach Stan Van Gundy said last week that he was preparing to play the rest of the season without Howard.
Now it looks as if Team USA will have to plan to play without Howard as well. Before this season, Howard had only missed two games in his career because of injury.
Howard is averaging 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds.