Dwight Howard said that members of the Heat were purposefully targeting his injured shoulder in an attempt to hurt him. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Dwight Howard alleged Sunday that opposing teams are targeting his injured shoulder early in games and trying to hurt him.
The Los Angeles Lakers center Howard has a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He told Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson that both the Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcats had tried to yank his shoulder near the beginning of the game to aggravate the injury.
From Adelson's piece:
On his first trip down the court, Dwight Howard felt Miami Heat players grabbing at his injured right arm.
"They got me early," he told Yahoo! Sports in the quiet of the Lakers locker room after Sunday's 107-97 loss. "They would yank it back."
Howard said the Bobcats did the same thing in Charlotte Friday night – even worse, in fact.
"It's like a jolt," he said. "Then it hurts the rest of the night."
Howard has faced criticism from his own teammates — including Kobe Bryant — for how he's handled his injury. Last week, Bryant said that the Lakers didn't have time to wait for Howard's injury to heal and urged him to play through the pain.
“We don’t have time for [Howard's shoulder] to heal," Howard told ESPN. "We need some urgency. Dwight worries too much about what people think. I told him, ‘You can’t worry about that. It’s holding you back.’ He says, ‘OK, OK, OK,’ but it’s always hovering around him. He just wants people to like him. He doesn’t want to let anyone down, and that gets him away from what he should be doing.”