When Dwight Howard first went down back in April to back injury which later required surgery, it was a tad overlooked. All the drama in Orlando while they were flunking out of the playoffs, the move to the Los Angeles Lakers pretty much put the fact that he’s a rehabilitating player in the back of most people’s minds.

But the initial estimate for his return was six months. The first preseason game for the new looks Los Angeles Lakers, and by new look we mean Steve Nash and Dwight Howard joining forces with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, against the Golden State Warriors is on October 7. Howard will definitely miss that one, and obviously training camp which begins on October 2.

How about the regular season, which will make his return a 7 month thing? We’ll see what the doctor says. If I’m ready for opening night, I’ll be there, but I’m not going to rush it. A back is very serious, so I’m going to take my time and make sure I’m 100 percent because I want to give everybody 100 percent. I want to give everybody everything I have.

The Lakers, at least towards the outside world, don’t seem to worried, chiefly GM Mitch Kuptchak, who once again amazed everyone but managing to sign one of the biggest stars in the NBA by giving away absolutely nothing of immediate value. When you’re never about the future but always about the now, maybe it’s easier to work out these kinda deals, especially with the Lakers and LA allure backing you up.

We feel very assured that he’s going to be back. We’re hopeful he’s back for camp, we’re hopeful he’s back to start the season, but we know he’s going to be back and playing at a high level at some point in time.

Image source: defpenradio.com

Dwight Howard was having a very good season up until the injury last year. We ranked him as the 3rd best player in the NBA halfway through the 2011-2012 season. He ended up averaging 20.6 points, a league-best 14.5 rebounds per game and 2.2 blocks per game. When he was completely focused on it, Howard was once again the biggest and most formidable defensive presence in the NBA, but he has shifted his game toward a more offensive orientation the last couple of years. The Magic simply needed him to, as the crew around him simply got worse and worse.

With the Lakers, it’s going to be different. Howard isn’t the main highlight, but just another big star on a team that’s seen dozens of them, playing alongside the biggest star of them all, Kobe Bryant, who’ll probably be focused on shooting and shooting and shooting next season. That’s what it’s like with Steve Nash playing next to you. But the Lakers won’t be having an All-Star Howard right away, or they shouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t.

He’s working out a lot this summer on improving his highly criticized post-play, trying to rely less and less on his athleticism and size. Maybe he just wants to become a better player, like every star should strive to become; working on your weaknesses. Or maybe he knows that coming off this injury has taken something from the physical aspect of his game, and he needs to make up for it somehow.

Top image: Cbc.ca