Fitter Dwight Howard Will Make LA Lakers Title Contenders in Time for Playoffs

Dwight Howard told the media on Saturday afternoon that he's not only ready to shoulder a lot of the blame for the Los Angeles Lakers' struggles so far this season, but that he's not in the shape he's used to being in at this point in the season (per Ramona Shelburne of

Dwight Howard candid today about how his conditioning has affected his play this year: "Unfortunately it cost us a lot of games"

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 23, 2013 Howard, of course, had surgery to repair a herniated disc last spring, so a lot of what he was able to do over the summer in terms of conditioning had to be limited to what his back would allow him to accomplish.

One of the most jarring discoveries coming into the season had to be Howard's admission that he's experienced leg numbness when he sits down, which effected him to the point that he couldn't even do a calf raise.

Going from being the constantly active, incredible physical specimen that he was to a sometimes immobile player is going to have an impact, and we're seeing just what that impact is with his struggles this season.

Saturday, Howard expanded on just how hard he was hit physically, giving us all the rundown on how much he's been limited this season (per Ramona Shelburne):

I knew that would be a process. The better shape I'm in, the more active I can be and the more I'm able to do on the floor. But it was a struggle at first because I just didn't have it in the tank, especially on defense.

I didn't have a chance to really get in good shape. And then it's hard trying to get in shape during the season, playing a lot of minutes and traveling. It's very tough. But I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have and work on my conditioning every day.

It's an interesting comparison even at this point to compare Howard to Shaquille O'Neal. While Howard operates best in peak physical condit...

About the Author