With Dwight Howard’s tumultuous 2012-13 campaign finally in the books, the Los Angeles Lakers big man can start focusing on getting healthy and, more importantly, making his much-anticipated free-agency decision.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 1, at 8:20 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to the Lakers' official Twitter account, Howard's right shoulder will not require surgery:
Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers
From Lakers PR: @DwightHoward was examined today by Dr. James Tibone & was advised that surgery is not necessary on his right shoulder.5/2/2013, 12:17:16 AM
---End of update---
It seems that the torn labrum in his right shoulder is more pressing, as D12 has plans to visit a doctor to have it checked out on Wednesday, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.
Speaking on the injury, Howard told the reporter: “Hopefully I don’t have to have surgery. But whatever the case may be, I’m going to do whatever I can to get myself right this offseason.”
Howard initially injured the shoulder on Jan. 4 in a contest against the in-town rival Clippers and received much criticism from both fans and teammates (notably Kobe Bryant) for his decision to sit out a handful of contests.
Since the Lakers were eliminated from the postseason after four embarrassing games against the San Antonio Spurs, Howard has plenty of time to rehabilitate the shoulder and prepare for the upcoming season.
It’s a distinct change in strategy compared to his recovery from back surgery in 2012. Superman tried to come back as quickly as possibly, ignoring the fact that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy or ready to help the Lakers win.
Due to both Howard’s personal struggles on the court and the organization’s shortcomings in both the regular season and playoffs, it seems that the big man will be eschewing the rushed approach this offseason.
D12 can’t be faulted for choosing the sensible option and looking out for himself, especially considering he still has to entertain offers and pick a franchise to sign with.
In regard to his free-agency plans, Howard left a cryptic message on Twitter that thanked fans in Los Angeles.
Dwight Howard @DwightHoward
I hope I get the chance to make it up to you!” Thank u la.4/29/2013, 7:52:44 AM
The superstar center is expected to command a max contract and should have a number of suitors lining up to try to sway him away from the Lakers in the coming months.
If he’s able to get his shoulder healthy and back to normal, it’s hard to imagine Howard not living up to the massive deal he is going to sign, regardless of where he winds up playing.