Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo surgery tomorrow morning to repair a herniated disk in his back, according to ESPN's Ric Bucher. He will miss the rest of the NBA season as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Howard had been complaining of back problems since early March, and an examination by Los Angeles-based spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins last week confirmed the herniated disk. The All-Star big man will go under the knife in L.A. tomorrow.
Agent Dan Fegan confirmed the seriousness of his client's injury, insisting the back ailment is a legitimate problem and merely not an excuse for Howard not to play.
"Dwight has never laid down once in his entire career," Fegan said. "It's absurd that some publicly, and others privately, speculated that Dwight was laying down or quitting. In fact, he was working his hardest to play through an injury which now requires surgery." Howard waived the early termination option in his contract with the Magic last month, committing to the team through next summer, but a rumor this week indicated that Howard has refused to play another game for current Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy. It remains unclear what will happen to Howard or Van Gundy next season.