dwight howard

Huh?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers starting power forward Pau Gasol was recently diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The injury comes at a time where the team was beginning to mesh well with one another with Gasol’s return as well as star point guard Steve Nash. Plantar Fasciitis, as Eric Pincus of the LA Times reports is,

…an inflammation of a tendon within the sole of the foot. It’s a relatively common injury that can be resolved with treatment and orthotics (customized shoe inserts).

Gasol’s right foot was examined by Dr. Kenneth Jung via MRI. The Lakers list their forward/center as probable against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The only cure for Plantar fasciitis is rest, however it has been noted that having a plantar fascia tear is more bearable than dealing with the inflammation:

Recently Richard Hamilton of the Chicago Bulls tore his plantar fascia, which has him still sidelined now for almost a month. A clean tear can actually heal more easily than dealing with the ongoing pain of plantar fasciitis.

Some players are able to go all season with the ailment. Some sit for a stretch to try to alleviate the inflammation.

Most recently, star Kobe Bryant dealt with the injury back in 2004 but did not sit out any games. This is not the first injury to Gasol this season as he previously sat out for 8 games with knee tendinitis before recently returning on the 18th of December.

This injury will only further complicate Gasol’s season as he is still struggling to find a comfort level within coach MIke D’Antoni‘s offense and along side star center Dwight Howard. However with Nash leading the offense and supplying Gasol with the best looks available, whether they are in the post or three point shots, it is believed that he will play through the injury and do it well.

Photo Credit: ESPN.GO

Photo Credit: ESPN.GO

Much like the Lakers thus far, Dwight Howard hasn’t been much of himself this season.  Recovering from back surgery last April that sidelined him for the rest of last season, Howard is still not 100% and won’t be for a couple more months.  His play this season is not what many Laker fans had expected from what they remember in Orlando.

Last night was another centerpiece for why The Lakers are frustrated with his play thus far; getting ejected after committing a flagrant 2 foul on opponent Kenneth Faried.  Here’s the foul that got Dwight ejected late in the 3rd, and more from that play can be read here.

After seeing the foul, I (like many of you) couldn’t believe he got ejected. I completely agree that it was a flagrant foul, but not a flagrant 2.  Howard had this to say regarding his foul:

It was a hard foul,” Howard said. “That’s all I know. I’ve been fouled harder than that before and nobody’s ever gotten kicked out of the game for it, but I get penalized for fouling people hard. It’s basketball.”

I absolutely agree with Howard on this one, I’ve seen much worse fouls on the court and an ejection is not given out.  I disagree with the referee’s ruling last night, and feel Howard’s foul should have been only a flagrant 1.  When asked about the foul and whether Howard deserved it, Kobe Bryant had this to say

I think it is the right call. I don’t think it was extensive enough to warrant a one-game suspension, but I believe it was a flagrant.”

Kobe didn’t side with Howard, he in fact agreed with the referees and felt the foul was worth the ejection.  However when asked if he felt it was worth a suspension, he disagreed.  Coach Mike D’Antoni when asked what it meant to lose Howard in the 3rd, said,

“Not a whole lot.”

Wow.  Not a whole lot to lose Howard in a critical point in the game.  That speaks volumes to the play of Dwight recently, and how he isn’t the impact player the Lakers need him to be just yet.  Yet being the key word.  Howard will get to full strength by the end of the season and the Lakers will need him to be playing at his full potential in order for them to make that championship run so many are anticipating.

It’s unfortunate to see Dwight getting frustrated on the court and taking it out on innocent players. Clearly he knows he isn’t where he wants to be and also where he should be. Once this injury completely heals and he regains full strength, then, and only then can we properly criticize Howard.  I strongly believe in Dwight and that he is the player that will put the Lakers over the edge in championship contention.

With the frustration growing exponentially, and Lakers fans still as impatient as ever, Howard must get his game to a peak level and become the Dwight Howard we all know he can be.

 

Photo Credit: ESPN

Around the holidays the words probable and probably are often used. For kids it’s a magical word that means they may get the toy they want; for adults it means they may get that new car they have wanted all year.  For Los Angeles Lakers fans it means that there is still a good chance for a title run after All-Star weekend, yet for Dwight Howard probably almost meant an early retirement.

The Lakers star center almost had to call it quits before going into herniated disc surgery for his back last season. As Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register and Scott Cooper of NBA.com both reported Dwight was dangerously close to hearing the words “never play basketball again“,

The doctors told him that if he kept trying to fight through the pain “for a couple weeks or a month” more and put off surgery (as Howard sort of wanted to in order to answer critics in Orlando expecting him to bail on the franchise), he might have done irreparable harm to his spine.

“If I would have waited until after the season, if I would have tried to continue to play, then I probably wouldn’t be able to play anymore,” Howard said.

Like previously stated, Dwight wanted to play to respond to his critics but had to consider his health and the longevity of his career,

“When I got hurt, I lost my whole left leg, basically, from my nerves,” he said. “That takes at least nine months to get that strength back. I was able to get some of it back in a couple of months. But it’s always a process. I wish that it would all come back right away, but this is a great time for me to work on other parts of my game that’ll make myself better and also make the team better.

At one point Dwight was willing to play through the injury but had to reconsider what the repercussions were;

“If I would have waited until after the season (to have the operation), if I would have tried to continue to play, then I probably wouldn’t be able to play anymore. I had to do it right away. I didn’t want to risk my career for some playoff games. They were important for me, but my health is important.”

Dwight made the right decision and decided to have the surgery and begin his long journey back to being in his playing shape. He has taken a lot of criticism for not being the player he was in Orlando but he does feel it coming,

“It’s really, at this point, not even my back. The injury I had caused my whole left leg to just lose all strength. My nerves were severely damaged. It takes a while for those nerves to grow back and for you to have enough strength to play. All that stuff is coming back slowly. There’s still days, like I said, where I feel really good, and there’s day when I’m not so good. But it’s all a process. I’m pretty sure at the end of the year I’ll feel a lot better than I do now.

Right now, Dwight still has a long road ahead of him to return to his dominant form. What people forget is that when he first was acquired via trade reports about his injury had him out until January and even then he would have had to still get into shape. Expectations for this Lakers team were sky high at the beginning of the season and I still believe that they can be reached but it will take time and determination from Dwight who is ultimately the backbone for the Lakers present and future.

Happy Holidays!

 

Image Credit: Lance Murphey | Associated Press

Finally.

This must be the collective sentiment of the Lakers’ fan base as a whole. Since joining the Lakers this past off-season, Antawn Jamison has been nothing short of disappointing so far this season. However, last night in the Lakers’ 106-98 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Jamison finally broke out of his slump and contributed an efficient night off the bench.

With starting power forward Pau Gasol struggling from the field (6 points on 3/8 shooting), coach Mike D’Antoni turned to Jamison off the bench. Jamison, a career 19 points per game scorer, responded for the first time this season with an efficient game on both ends of the floor. Despite fouling out towards the end of the game, Jamison finished the night with 16 points on 7/11 shooting, 7 rebounds (5 offensive) and a blocked shot. Although the 16 points were a welcomed sight, his 5 offensive rebounds were even more impressive.

Playing Jamison at the power forward position for most of the night, with Gasol on the bench, was certainly an effective call by D’Antoni. Jamison looked much more aggressive at power forward than he has in the back up small forward role. With Gasol struggling of late, don’t be surprised if you see Jamison playing more at the back up power forward position. His ability to stretch the floor (2/5 from 3-point range last night) and play at a faster tempo will be key in D’Antoni’s “run and fun” offensive scheme.

Image Credits: A.P. & Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

As was reported earlier, Coach Mike D’Antoni is expected to make his long anticipated debut on the bench for the Lakers tonight. If tonight’s game against the Brooklyn Nets (7:30PM PST on TWCSN & NBATV) didn’t already have enough drama leading up to it, a quote from yesterday’s media session may have added even more:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/mcten/status/270646266931855360"]

This past summer could certainly be dubbed the “Dwight Howard Saga” as the uncertainty of the center’s future lasted until August, when he was finally traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to the trade though, Howard’s desired destination had always been the Brooklyn Nets. When that failed to materialize after multiple trading attempts by the Nets, Brooklyn decided to go a different direction.

According to USA Today, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams advised Brooklyn management this past summer against pursuing Howard: “Please just don’t wait on Dwight. We can’t wait and not have a team.” After the attempts to land Howard failed, this statement as well as the subsequent moves for Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez ultimately led to end of Brooklyn’s pursuit of Howard.

Now in Los Angeles, Howard will face Williams tonight for the first of two meetings this season. After Howard’s quote about their friendship from yesterday, it will be interesting to see if there is any sort of “bad blood” between the two superstars on the court. Obviously, it seems that Howard does not care whether or not Williams is upset by him not joining the Nets this past off-season. Howard is currently working on putting the past behind him and is focused on moving forward, but this recent quote could make things awkward between the two, both on and off the court.

The Brooklyn Nets (6-2) enter Staples Center tonight riding a 5-game winning streak. With D’Antoni now permanently at the helm, the Lakers will need another solid performance from Howard to push past the Nets and end the Lakers home stand on a positive note. Hopefully Howard will use this volatile relationship with Williams as motivation and continue his stellar play as he works himself back into full strength.

Courtesy Getty Images

In some corners of Laker Nation, the first week of the NBA season has been one filled with confusion, disappointment, and, most of all, panic. From the Lakers 1-3 start, to Mike Brown’s shaky rotations, to Steve Nash’s role in the offense and suddenly significant injury, there has been plenty to over-analyze about the Lakers star-studded team.

In a season that has six more months until the real, meaningful Laker games, the one question that keeps popping into my mind is: why stress? Why are we so worried about a slow start out of the gate in what really amounts to season-long marathon? There are plenty of reasons that Laker Nation has a long, long time before hitting the panic button is necessary.

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The finger pointing begins.

At 0-3, the Lakers are off to their worst start in over 30 years. With this unusually slow start to a Lakers season, fans have started to play the blame game already.

Some have blamed the new offense for the team’s struggles, other have questioned the lack of production from the bench, and some have gone as far as blaming the team’s chemistry for the terrible start.

But in the midst of all the finger pointing, anger, and confusion, there is another person who also shares blame for the winless start: Mike Brown.

This is something Brown has become all too familiar with since joining the Laker family. Even before his first game as a Laker coach, the man dealt with criticism and controversy. Some of it was excessive, but some was earned.

After all, the coach has led the all-star filled Lakers to two consecutive seasons with at least an 0-2 start.  Since his reign, his teams have been stagnant offensively. To the surprise of many, even this year’s team has struggled to score despite the fact that the new Princeton Offensive was implemented to make the Lakers’ execution more fluid.

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