Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Dwight Howard To Have Back Surgery, Out For Playoffs

Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard needs back surgery on his herniated disc and has been ruled for the rest of the regular season, the playoffs and the upcoming summer olympics.

Ric Bucher of ESPN has the story:

“It hurts (emotionally),” Howard told ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard. “That’s the first thing — it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I’m quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse.”

Howard has been complaining of back problems since early March, but it wasn’t until Los Angeles-based spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins examined him last week that the herniated disk was discovered.

Howard has missed Orlando’s last six games and eight of their last 10. Glen Davis, who has done a fantastic job of filling in at Center will continue to start at Center while second-year pro Daniel Orton backs him up.

Dwight Howard finished the season playing in 54 games and averaging 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)

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