Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, Dwight Howard‘s coach while he played for the Magic, recently spoke to the Los Angeles Times about Howard’s struggles since coming back from back surgery.
“I don’t think he looks quite as explosive or as quick as he has in the past,” said Van Gundy. “Now, he’s still above almost everyone in the league at that size athletically, but he has not totally looked like himself to me.”
The criticism of Howard’s season is ridiculous. He obviously isn’t the same player, but he clearly isn’t 100 percent ready to play yet.
Howard has explained how his back injury is still hurting his game.
Dwight Howard on critics of his game: “I wasn’t even supposed to be playing until January and I’m playing now. What do you expect?” #Lakers
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) December 13, 2012
In addition, Howard describes his current physical condition.
“Tingling in my legs all the way down to my feet,” Howard said as he described his current state. “There’s times when sometimes I really can’t even feel my feet. [The doctors] said that’s going to happen. It takes at least nine months for you to get strength back in your legs and all that stuff. So I’m still in that process.”
The media hype around Howard puts intense pressure on him to play, acting as an incentive for him start playing sooner than he should have.
Lamar Odom has been trying to get in playing condition for almost a year now and nothing even happened to him. Derrick Rose isn’t near ready for #TheReturn. Howard had surgery on April 19 and Rose had surgery on May 12, less than a month apart. The nature was different for each player, but it puts into perspective how soon Howard began to play again.
The difference is that Howard couldn’t come off the drama he caused and refuse to sign a contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, then turn around and be like, “just kidding, I’m not even going to play.”