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Dwight Howard suffers herniated disc in back, may miss rest of regular season

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts to a missed free-throw during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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The Orlando Magic announced Friday night that Dwight Howard who has missed several games with a back injury has suffered a herniated disc in his back. From the AP:

Magic spokesman Joel Glass said Howard was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins after Howard flew out there earlier Friday for a second opinion for what had previously be called back spasms since he injured his back at the end of March.

There is no timetable for his return and it will be based on how he responds to treatment.

Howard is scheduled to fly back to Orlando on Saturday.

The Magic are now 1-4 without him this season.


Howard had gone to L.A. to seek a second opinion after continued pain in his back had kept him out five games, including a double-digit loss to the Atlanta Hawks Friday night. Without Howard, the Magic are in freefall. For all the talk of how much he’s underutilized by Stan Van Gundy’s offense, in reality the entire system on both sides is built around Howard. The Magic stand three games out of the eighth spot above both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Howard is unlikely to return for the regular season:

Dwight Howard expected to be out 14-16 days. Playoffs could start for Magic April 29-30.Race is on.

— Brian K. Schmitz (@MagicInsider) April 14, 2012

So things could get very intense for the Magic down the stretch in what has already been a mentally exhausting season for the Magic, what with Howard demanding a trade, then retracting it, then re-extending it, then wanting to stay, then not wanting to stay, then wanting to stay and signing a waiver, then having it revealed by his coach that he had asked his ownership to fire his coach. So, you know, not a great way to end what has already been a really difficult season for the Magic.