By Ethan Cadeaux and Ben Standig
The Wizards will be without their starting center for the majority of the remaining part of the regular season, as more details emerged on the health of Dwight Howard on Friday.
On Thursday, it was reported that Howard was likely to undergo surgery on a gluteal injury, although no decision was final. On Friday, Howard "underwent an L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy," according to the team.
Recovery time is somewhat unclear, but the Wizards announced he will be re-evaluated in 2-3 months.
The center, who the Wizards signed to a two-year, $11 million contract this past summer, turns 33 in just over a week. He has appeared in just nine games in his first year in Washington; the Wizards are 4-5 in such games.
He traveled to Los Angeles on Thursday to see a nerve specialist after aggravating the same piriformis muscle injury that caused him to miss all of training camp. Howard re-aggravated the injury against Portland on Nov. 18, and has missed the Wizards last five games.
The eight-time All-Star is averaging just 12.8 points-per-game, the lowest since his rookie year. His rebounding numbers are the lowest in his career (9.2 per game), and he's playing the least amount of minutes he ever has.
But when on the court, Howard has provided the Wizards with an interior presence that no other player on the roster is really capable of. Head coach Scott Brooks has a lot to figure out for the next couple months of how to replace the big man.
As Standig pointed out, the latest injury news sparks a number of question for Howard. (Read more about that here).
The Wizards are back in action at 7 p.m. tonight when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.
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