Lakers Rumors: Rushing Dwight Howard Back Will Turn Him into Amare Stoudemire

Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard recently told sources that his back is at “85 percent,” according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. While 85 percent of Dwight Howard is better than most big men in the NBA at 100 percent, rushing him back on the court could lead him down a path similar to that of Amare Stoudemire.

Howard went under the knife five months ago to repair a herniated disc that prematurely ended his tumultuous 2011-12 season with the Orlando Magic.

He has yet to be medically cleared for contact or to go all-out in practice. He has not participated in any five-on-five drills and he’s not expected to be a full participant in training camp.

Yet, Howard plans on taking the court for the Los Angeles Lakers in their season opener against the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center on October 30, according Wojnarowski's report.

It’s understandable why Howard wants to play.

He’s part of one of the most talented teams in the league, he’s a competitor and he’s in a contract year—but can we really expect him to be ready for the grind of NBA action in just over four weeks?

We can expect it, but it’s unrealistic.

Howard can say his back feels “85 percent” right now, but that’s 85 percent without any real basketball being played. It’s a completely different animal when he’s fighting for position down low, trying to box out for a rebound and running the floor.

How will his back react to contact, to landing with the full force of his 265 pounds on the hardwood? How will it react when he goes airborne to grab a board or block a shot and has to twist and turn to adjust to the ball?

Nobody knows, and that’s where the danger lies in having him play on opening night.

I can’t help but see the connection to Amare Stoudemire, who w...

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