Dwight Howard missed three games with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Torn Labrum’s often require surgery, and months not weeks or days of recovery. After returning quickly, in the last two games Dwight Howard doesn’t look like a different player after the injury. He looks like a completely different player for the better.
Before the shoulder injury, Dwight Howard’s health, effort and consistency have been questioned all season. He has struggled to be the impact player he could be on either end of the floor despite passable numbers everywhere but the free throw line. He has played the whole season below the rim, planted to the floor. He has trouble getting over the lip of the rim for dunks even. Howard didn’t look like the same player after missing the end of last season, and receiving offseason back surgery.
But after coming back from his torn labrum, Howard has looked like a completely different player. Against Cleveland, Howard had 22 points on 9-11 shooting, and 14 rebounds. And then against Milwaukee Howard had 31 points on 14-18 shooting and 16 rebounds in 40 minutes! His activity on both ends of the court was the best it had been all season. At the risk of complaining, why now?
Let’s give credit to a commitment to give Howard the ball. His 18 attempts from the field on Tuesday tie his season high . Let’s credit the poor opponents. The Lakers are not a good team, but Milwaukee and Cleveland are bad teams. But let’s give credit to Howard’s torn labrum.
Is it a direct result correlation to his back pain, and alleviated the pain holding him back; or the pain of the shoulder has now trumped his back pain? He is not thinking about being slowed by the back pain and surgery perhaps because his shoulder hurts more acutely than the old injury now. If this is the Dwight we are going to get used to seeing, maybe Mike D’Antoni will suggest to Gary Vitti that all of the Lakers suffer labrum tears.
The Lakers have won 2 in a row now, each by more than 15 points. The tempting action is to say the Lakers got it now. But what the Lakers absolutely got, is a matchup at home on Thursday with the defending NBA champs. It’s time for the Lakers to make a statement, and tear their labrums if it helps.