Lakers center Dwight Howard said he not fully healed from his back surgery. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard said that the team's early struggles this season are partly his fault because of his inconsistent energy and struggles with conditioning.
Howard says he is "not even close" to where he wants to be and that he took six months off after having back surgery last spring.
"You've got to have energy and I want to bring that energy every night," Howard said to ESPN.com. "That's my job. They count on me to be that guy. I just know how much more effective I will be when I'm in better shape. And, unfortunately, it's cost us a lot of games."
The Lakers (27-29) are dealing with numerous injuries including forward Pau Gasol being out for the next couple of weeks as he recovers from a foot injury. Howard says he has to pace himself, even though he doesn't want to.
"I don't want to pace myself. I want to be able to go all out, but you've got to be in great shape to do that," he said. "I know what I've been able to do in the past and I know right now I'm not able to do that for a whole game. "That comes with time. But I'm not going to get discouraged. Once I get tired I'm going to ask for a blow, take a break, then get back out there and go hard again."