With the news Tuesday that Dwight Howard has been cleared for 5-on-5 full contact practice, Lakers fans had reason to be excited. It’s been a long road to recovery for the 6’11” center, and on practice Thursday, Dwight told us just how bad his initial back injury really was.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that when I hurt my back it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead. Basically, I couldn’t do a calf raise. That was the first order of business, to get my calf raise back.”
It took Howard about two months for him to be able to raise his calf again. After that, he started working on his core, and actually didn’t start running until close to training camp.
“Everything else was more like a fast walk for awhile…so I would say after I got traded and was here for a couple of weeks I was able to do some light running.”
After the surgery, the doctors told Howard that recovery would be about five months, and were impressed by his ability to regain strength. Howard tells us what the doctors told him.
“Most guys don’t recover as fast as you did, especially when it affects your nerve down your leg, it usually takes a year for you to regain strength.”
Superman could not pinpoint an exact time that the initial injury occurred. As a matter of fact, he said that he was playing through back pain and spasms because he did not want Orlando to think that he wasn’t giving his all. However, he did recall exactly when he knew it was bad.
“There was a practice where I couldn’t even bend over. I felt it all the way down my leg. The doctor said if you can’t do a calf raise you need to have surgery.”
Well, Howard couldn’t do a calf raise, and so his road to recovery began. Now, as far as how his left leg (that previously went dead) is doing.
“It’s a lot better.”
We sure hope so, Dwight, because it’s time to see you out there.
In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Mychal Thompson.[jwplayer config=”lakersnation_player” file=”http://youtu.be/taZvAGFz8xE” autostart=”false”]