Howard: Playing With Pain And Purpose

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HANG TIME, Texas — According to the medical reports, it’s a platelet-rich therapy injection in his injured right shoulder that could allow Dwight Howard to rejoin the Lakers for today’s game in suburban Detroit against the Pistons.

But more than anything that comes out of a syringe, it could be a shot of Kobe Bryant that’s putting the All-Star center back into the L.A. lineup.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register calls it the Kobe Code — punching the clock, finding a way, doing your job.

Bryant made clear after Howard’s last aggravation in Phoenix on Wednesday that he expects Howard to deal with it, even though Howard missed three games previously and now another game Friday.

“It’s one of those things when you get banged like that going up, you’re going to get that stinging sensation,” Bryant said. “That’s just how it’s going to be.”

Bryant knows from experience.

Bryant tore the labrum in his right shoulder in 2003. He did it in an awkward way also — though more uncool than unsound, basketball-wise: Bryant tried to finish a dunk while being fouled by Minnesota center Rasho Nesterovic and rammed the ball against the front rim, wrenching his shoulder.

It happened in the second game of the playoffs, and Bryant played the next 10 games with the limitation as the Lakers’ quest for a fourth consecutive NBA title failed. That was the season Bryant played all 82 games despite various injuries, averaging a still-career-high 41.5 minutes — and he averaged a still-career-high 32.1 points in the playoffs despite the shoulder injury.

In other words, what’s a little pain in your shoulder compared to the utter agony of the Lakers missing the playoffs?

There’s precious little time now for the Lakers to keep shrugging it all off and insisting that things will only get better with a bit more patience. The halfway mark of the schedule has already faded in the rearview mirror and the sirens are blaring louder than a five-alarm fire.

How many times does one team get say this is the week when it makes a stand? The last time the Lakers went out on the road was supposed to be the cure-all, but they promptly got slapped and swept in Toronto, Cleveland and Memphis.

Then a three-game winning streak, with supposedly a statement win over OKC in the middle, was going to be the springboard for the current seven-game Grammy Trip. But blowing a 13-point lead in the opener at Phoenix has the Lakers once more as exposed as Milli Vanilli.

Thus, here comes Howard back after missing just one game, not just to put some size in the middle of the lineup, but perhaps to show that he’s got the spine that Bryant demands of himself and his teammates. This is about earning respect.

Remember, while the short-term goal is still to do a full-Lazarus and somehow make the playoffs, there is still the long-term future to consider. As the 34-year-old Bryant pushes himself to the limit playing maximum minutes in pursuit of that sixth NBA title that would pull him even with Michael Jordan, he’s got to know that his wingman Howard is made of the right stuff. While Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal dueled and shot spitballs over petty personality disputes, neither ever doubted that the other would lace up his sneakers and play hurt with the season in the balance. How much faith would Bryant have in a new five-year contract given next summer to Howard if he hasn’t laid it all out there to be playing in the spring?

Now the season is on the line, as it has been from the moment that the Lakers first fell on their faces out of the starting gate. Only this time it’s for real.

So Howard will be back in the lineup playing in pain, at least in part because the misery that could come from Kobe for not playing might be felt far longer.

65 Comments

  1. jstAfan says:

    the lakers just cant do much as of this moment other than believe that somehow they could pull it together in the 2nd half of the season. dont forget they still have great talents in the team.

  2. Jumppong says:

    DeeeWHite is a 3 time defensive player of the year.. must trade MWP for someone who is a consistent shooter and scorer..

  3. Sick of stupidity says:

    You guys are so mistaken. Dh12 took the magic to finals with no help .. what a few spread the floor shooters ? … The MAN has not fully recovered from back surgery ( you can see that every game mobility and hops are still not there ) .. So he started off the season PLAYING through PAIN And im sure he will continue to do so . If I recall correctly he originally wasn’t expected to return until AFTER the Allstar break .. HATERS !!

  4. Chocho says:

    gasol is far better post, keep him playing you ll see the results, Howard doesn’t has gasol skills

  5. bigseanny says:

    Lakers need to focus on just making the NBA playoffs and get in playoff mode.Simple as that.

  6. Sugar Daddy says:

    I think it’s Howard’s turn to come off the bench. Pau is playing well right now, Lakers are winning and they don’t need Dwight’s tantrums at the moment.

  7. Geri Escalderon says:

    I just wonder how are you guys getting worried about LA’s standing right now. When the season started there is an 82-0 record possible article. Now there is only 34 games left and no one is believing that LA fakers can win all the remaining 34 games! 56 wins is good for 5th place in the western conference!

  8. Gaillies says:

    Those who dislike or posting negative comments about Dwight Howard, please think about your position, everyone has their up and down, you have no idea what he is going through. Lakers fans should pray and bless that Howard will get better asap.. He is a good player, no doubt.

  9. 9tailsfox says:

    morning all from Australia, i have been a howard fan since he was drafted, and have supported the magic back when penny and shaq played, im glad he left, all credit to him he is an amazing talent with an ego just as big, i just dnt understand why he complaqins bout getting bumped abd going to the foul line, make ur free throws fool and u will average 30+ a game, problem with howard is he is not a winner, kobe is a winner, nash,gasol….lakers get rid of howard and that fool of a coach….howard for love??? make it happen laker world

  10. croneberg says:

    who is soft now? pau? or HOWARD?

  11. Eaglos says:

    In the meantime Gasol dominates at his natural position and
    despite Kobe Brick’s efforts to sabotage the team, Gasol carries
    the burden.

  12. Willy says:

    Bring back Hakeem, he was teaching DH moves? Could probably beat him one on one as well! Hows his back, 100% now? Something will always be wrong with this guy, get rid of him to a team that doesn’t need him as well. Toronto?

  13. SaYO says:

    let howard rest….

  14. bu says:

    For those who supported Howard, pl consider those championship teams’ players’ qualities & personalities. They have to “really want it.” DH has NEVER SHOWN any intensity in his play, will to improve, & demeanor on the court. I’m not saying he has to be like KG or Kobe in this matter but show some toughness & intensity.

    I remember Gasol earning people’s respects by playing “big & tough” during their last championship playoff run. Although he lost it since, DH needs to show that, as well as improving his other facets of the game more significantly & really play like a beast to help any team.

    What a waste of physical talent with DH!!!!

    If he continues this way, I’m not sure if he’ll ever be a champion or will continually to scare off some teams.

  15. I hate Howard haters says:

    How come people here are such idiots so ignorant of Howard? He’s doing it all for the team and what if you guys were on his place? I’m sure you guys would cry bucketfuls with your pride on it.

  16. Ben says:

    Howard is not and will never be the guy to just play through pain like Kobe is.

    At some point later in the season (when LA really are basically out of the playoffs) I fully expect to see Howard shut down for the season – if he isn’t traded first. And I don’t think that will sit well with Kobe, not at all.

  17. Nash fan says:

    Lakers need Howard! Howard… time to BEAST MODE and get the Lakers to the Playoffs! GO LAL!

  18. nbaman says:

    Many people fail to see this, but Dwight Howard is actually the reason why Lakers are losing so much.

    Get Dwight out of LA! He doesn’t fit with the Lakers. People blame Gasol, but we should actually blame Dwight Howard.

    • specialfriedrice says:

      lucky that you dont have to put your real name on embarasing and special comments like the one above…

  19. jmk says:

    Howard needs the whole team to play for him because he lacks shot and movements and cannot create his shots and cannot accept that his role should just be rebounding and blocking. Gasol is still much better than him, although is true that he can lose focus easily, but I guess is not easy to wake every single day and wonder if it is today the day that I am traded? And to what team?

  20. BB FAN says:

    This is sick! Look I am not a fan of any team, I am just a BBALL fan… And I think dwight has proven, over the last 2 years (filled of the dwightmare) that he is nothing else than a number 2 guy in a championship team. And thats cool, I respect number 2 guys, like gasol, like wade, like Pierce, etc etc, but the problem is Dwight is actin like he was the MVP of the league or something… Buckle up and play! stop whining! U are 6 ft 11, 250+ pounds and u complaning about other people outhustling u. U know the solution? Put ur ellbows in and fight!

    • Mytownla87 says:

      Why is everyone speaking for Dwight telling him to play through the pain, and how its “just a shoulder injury, stop being soft and lace up”. Are you guys feeling his pain right now? Are you going through what he is going through? Look… I understand that Kobe had the same injury back in ’03 and played through it, but just because Kobe did, does that mean that every other basketball player in the world who ever experiences this type of injury HAS to play through it, just becasue Kobe did? If the guy is in pain and is unable to play, then let it be. Stop speaking for him as if you ppl know what it feels like. Is it all of a sudden a crime to sit through an injury? stfu and let the guy recover, why rush him back, especially when Pau is averaging 22 and 12 now that D’antoni’s ignorant self is allowing him to play in the post. Seriously, he will come back when he is cleared to do so, not when you idiots keep whining and complaining.

  21. Scott The Magician says:

    With Kobe playing as the best player in the league, averaging triples doubles it doesnt matter who laces them up. I could play center right now and the lakers would win.
    I think with the way Kobe is playing he HAS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR MVP…..if the lakers even make the playoffs and he continues this play. he should be the MVP…no doubt

    • Derp says:

      1) Kobe is averaging triple doubles only in his last 3-5 games, not the whole season like LBJ or KD 2) Honestly, seriously, for effing sake read what you’re saying about Kobe being considered for MVP when he cant carry his team in the top 8 seeds in the WCF…

      • SaYO says:

        kd is averaging thriple doubles? O.o
        lakers are playing better now with kobe being the facilitator..
        but yeah its ONLY 5 games now i believe, but if kobe truly does carry on the team to a +500 team and is able to put them in the playoff races.. thats a pretty top notch mvp performance to be honest..
        just think about it… kobe was scoring SOOO well cause his team was playing so horific.. no chemistry messed up the lakers so bad.,.. kobe needs the ball, pau needs the ball, dwight needs the ball, and nash needs the ball.. they all need the ball to do what they do… nash and kobe is doing really well in giving up their game style to help the team, kobe is racking up thriple doubles… if he keeps this up.. thats mvp status right there.. kobe bryant.. doing it all.. from game 1 of the start of the season..
        but im not taking away kd’s game though, hes not really averaging a thriple double all season lol, more like just a close double double every game… if anything.. westbrook has a nicer thriple double season than kd is -__-

  22. Why would Howard play hurt, he’s afraid to aggravate his shoulder injury. Looks like he doesn’t care whether the Lakers make the playoff or not. He would not opt for surgery, it is free agent year. It seems that he already decided where to play next year, and it will not be the Lakers. Unlike Kobe who plays hurt have an agenda to be Lakers for life, he love to play for the Lakers. While Howard doesn’t. Subtle hint utter here and there that says what he really wants. Further more he do not want to play for D’Antoni, for that one can not blame him. Speaking of D’Antoni, which it seems that it not a good business move to fire him. It will be cost effective to pay Brown,and D’Antoni, and the new replacement. Regardless the Lakers can still get rid of D’Antoni, install one of the existing coach they have to implement substitution pattern. Anyway at present it is Kobe and Nash are the system. They are running the Lakers. Many fans believe that this system will and going to succeed.

  23. RSS vs RSS says:

    I mean we’ve seen it before great players who will sacrifice themselves and do anything to get their team on the winning road and quite frankly D Howard isn’t one of those players. I can recall watching on NBA TV Isiah Thomas playing with a bad sprained ankle during the finals, Allen Iverson another player who suffered numerous injuries and still be on the court leading his team and of course Kobe who plays thru all the pain whether it was his messed up shoulder or broken finger he still playing on the court. The difference is players like Kobe, Iverson and Isiah they all have Heart and tenacity whereas D. Howard lack both cause he’s all about smile prime example win or lose you always catch him on the bench with a grin on his face.

  24. Charlie says:

    Howard doesn’t need to be the 100% dominant player to be effective. Play defense…alter shots…and rebound.

    • DH12 Top CENTER. says:

      And he is not a100% and still is among the top 2 in the nba on rebounds if not the top rebounder, and still defending better than spected, just wait when he gets 100% he will make every center in the nba look a Like a highschool center. and his scoring will go up.

  25. andres feret says:

    better howard from the bench

  26. gaudi says:

    lakers has a long way to go see you next year peace and love

  27. colin says:

    Howard needs to rest maybe 2 – 3 games now Pau is back. Season still has a lot of time to develop and Howards injury can only get worse with play.

    The Lakers also need to get some time to form a unit – This year requires them to experiment hence the Kobe comment recently. I remember when Howards Superman came out at the All-stars game – Everyone loved him. Now he’s a Laker looking to build a championship franchise everyone’s a Hater.

    Good luck Lakers and Good Luck Howard you have a lot of Fans and Supporters

  28. emmmmmmmman says:

    thats the difference between kobe and any player in the nba..

    he can play thru pain!

  29. EDWIN KB24-MAMBA BRO.... says:

    Don’t compere Haward with the Super Hero KB24, that’s another history my friends, he is not human….

  30. Denzo says:

    I wonder, if he’s so good, why hes so rubbish. Sorry howard, you can win 7 titles with whom ever you want, I will always think you’re are over paid, whining, over rated player. Brook Lopez dominates you. And you dont see him giggling after every FT miss. Just terrible.

  31. Fo Real says:

    nice to see howard growing some balls…

  32. Lakerboy says:

    How about start talking about trading D-12 instead of trading Pau ???

    This trade could be interessting : D-12 and MWP for Josh Smith, Kyle Korver and/or Anthony Morrow. Then move Pau to the Center position.

  33. Ginobili says:

    And what if he aggravates the injury and it costs him the rest of the season or some time next season? Sit out. Get better. They’re not going to make the playoffs. Makes no difference if Howard plays or not. Trade him or Gasol. No way they both wanna stick around next season. I don’t know how anyone would want to play with Kobe “I take 30 shots a game” Bryant.

  34. mike says:

    Howard really needs to man up. Hes 6’10 and one of the most muscular guys in the nba. Is that muscle for show or for real?

    • dissin says:

      Learn your NBA before you talk nonesense you idiot. 3 defensive player of the.year and all star selection isn’t for show since he acquired it already. Oh and to add to your no common sense brain, Howard is 6’11

  35. Chester says:

    Lakers played better without him with pau at starting center

  36. Chuckster says:

    howard is soft and overrated…

    • mos def..he is always crying about something instead of playing good hard basketball..

      • bigwes95 says:

        @ULTIMATE LAKER. if you’re saying that because he averages a lot of free throws, you have to realize that durant averages more, and that’s not including the fact durant leads the league in technical fouls, more than cousins, howard, rasheed wallace, garald wallace, melo, and others. maybe durant whines but people just love him so much, it doesn’t matter ifhe does it. howard is criticized for being fouled everytime he goes in, he’s constantly being pushed on rebounds (over the back fouls) but if he still grabs it, they don’t call anything. last year or a couple years ago, he lead the league in getting fouls, but with over 200 fouls committed on him, not one was a flagarnat. he whines, but he actually has a reason to compared to someone like kobe or durant or melo. that’s because they mainly shoot and don’t go in, but when they do go in, they always expect to get the call, and they do a lot, but howard doesn’t get as many as he deserves.

    • Who's SOFT,????? says:

      I wonder if any one with the same back injjury that Howard had done, if they can go back and Play or do the same activities in the same short time Howard did, and then they Talk about Howard being soft. or anyone that had it done. He is doing A lot more than I spected him to be in just 6 months.

  37. Jim says:

    If Howard wants to be considered the next franchise player for LAL not only will he have to play through pain but play as efficienltly as he did with the Magic which he hasn’t done so far.I’m sorry but this experiment is over and Mitch should blow this team up by the trade deadline,invest in some young players and hope for the best,it sure is better than what the Lakers are doing right now and I could care less mind you I’m a raptors fan that is finally excited by acquiring Gay.

  38. rj63 says:

    Howard isn’t Kobe. He needs to be 100% to be any good. Sit out, get better. Kobe isn’t normal with this ability to play hurt. Don’t try to be what you’re not.

  39. rj63 says:

    Howard is not ever going to be Kobe in the playing in pain department. I think the whole problem with Howard is that he isn’t 100% and he’s one of those guys who has to be 100% to be any good. Not everybody is Kobe. Sit out, get better, get surgery if you need it.

  40. kobista says:

    does howard needs Hello kitty souvenirs? or will he get on his track? :D

  41. JPA says:

    kobe ​​can take many forms and do the game any player near him to be a champion.

  42. topotamadre says:

    No!!!! Pau’s doing fine, no need of Howard right now.

    Well maybe if he play’s he will re-injure and Lakers will win another championship just like when bynum was here. GO LAKERS!

  43. tj says:

    i dislike howard

    • phillip says:

      morning from Aus everyone just thought I’d let you know that all these Laker articles annoy us too, so many more exciting and relevant things around the NBA to scribe about oh well zzzzzzzzzzz