Dwight Howard's season of discontent ends
By Homer D. Sayson
Fri, 20 Apr 2012
IT was a season of discontent for center Dwight Howard, one marred by free agency woes, back pains that sidelined him for eight games, and one very public discord with his head coach -- Stan Van Gundy.
Well, that season ended for good Thursday night when a press release announced that the Orlando Magic behemoth will go through the knife on Friday to repair a herniated disk. He will miss the entire 2012 NBA playoffs as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics.
With a chance to bolt for free agency after this season, the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard chose to stay with the Magic for at least one more year, vowing that he would lead a spirited push for Orlando to snatch the Larry O'Brien trophy.
For much of the season, Howard seemed like a man on a mission, averaging 20.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in 54 outings. But his dominance inside the playing field was often overshadowed by controversies outside the lines.
He was ripped and mocked for flip-flopping about staying or leaving Orlando. And he didn't make any friends either when reports leaked that he had allegedly asked team management to fire his head coach -- Stan Van Gundy.
And now this.
Without Howard, the Orlando Magic has virtually no chance of winning the East, what with powerhouses Chicago and Miami lording over the conference.
"It hurts," Howard told Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine. "That's the first thing -- it hurts (emotionally). And 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."
One of the highest paid athletes in the world, Howard's salary with the Magic this year is a staggering $18,091,770. He last played on April 7, when he scored 20 points and grabbed 22 rebounds as the Magic tripped the Sixers -- 88-82 -- in Philadelphia. (Homer D. Sayson)
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.
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