Dwight Howard Injury: Lakers’ Playoff Hopes Go Down the Drain with Big Man Hurt

As Dwight Howard went down during the Los Angeles Lakers' game with the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night, so too did the Lakers' chances of making the playoffs.

Howard tweaked his right shoulder, which is where he, of course, suffered a torn labrum earlier in the month. As a result, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Twitter that Howard will miss Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves:

Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported Howard will be receiving platelet-rich plasma therapy in order to fix the ailing shoulder.

As if the Lakers weren't already looking at enough obstacles for a playoff push, this injury may very well be the final straw.

Their season has been filled with so many up and downs on the court, trade rumors and head coaching issues, fans have probably lost count. Now they might have to deal with yet another injury to Howard.

Despite his drop from last year in terms of scoring and rebounding, Howard has been one of the most important players on this team.

The shoulder issue couldn't come at a more critical juncture in the season. Los Angeles, with its 20-26 record, sits 10th in the Western Conference, four games behind the Houston Rockets.

After winning three games in a row, the Lakers' loss to the Suns was the first game of a seven-game road swing. They face key games against the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

If the Lakers fail to take at least four of the seven road games, they could be facing an insurmountable deficit for simply the eighth spot in the West.

Now you have to wonder how long Los Angeles will have to go on its road trip without one of its best players.

Then you have to figure if Howard will ever truly be healthy this season.

In an ideal world, Los Angeles would be able to keep him off the court until he's fully ready to make a return. Unfortuna...

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