Dwight Howard: Injury Concerns Make D12's Future as Uncertain as Andrew Bynum's

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IOctober 13, 2012

FRESNO, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench in the game with the Golden State Warriors at Save Mart Center At Fresno State on October 7, 2012 in Fresno, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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After bringing Dwight Howard to Los Angeles during the offseason, the Lakers thought they were getting a better, perennially healthier big man to replace Andrew Bynum and all the injury concerns he had.

But as it turns out, Howard is no more certain than Bynum was.

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Howard not only battled back issues during the offseason, but D12 also had problems with his leg as a result of the injury:

"What a lot of people don't know is when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg just went dead basically," the Lakers center said Thursday. "I couldn't do a calf raise."

It's not a completely uncommon condition, because nerves run from the spine to the leg and a disk can impinge the whole root. But Howard needed about two months before he could lift his calf after undergoing back surgery in April.

The latest revelations about Bynum's knee (via the Daily News' Bob Cooney) proves that the respective health of both centers is nowhere near a certainty:

JUST ABOUT a week into training camp and there seems to be two problems facing 76ers coach Doug Collins as he prepares his club for a season oozing with expectations.

The health of newly acquired Andrew Bynum is a serious concern, though the coach and the humongous center both said Monday that the ailing knee is improving.

The injuries that Howard and Bynum deal with are the last type of injuries a big man wants to suffer.

Howard's back is a concern because it is his back that will take a beating when posting up in the paint. The physical nature of Howard's style on both ends of the floor doesn't make it any easier to stay away from this type of injury.

On top of the injury itself, if Howard hurts his back again, he could potentially suffer the same leg problems, and that could keep him out even longer.

As for Bynum's knee, it isn't a good sign to see a a 24-year-old center dealing with chronic knee issues this early in his career. In all, Bynum has only played in 66 games or more once during his career, but in all fairness, he did play in 60 of the Lakers' 66 games last season.

In this comparison, the only thing keeping the Lakers optimistic about their choosing Howard over Bynum is the fact that D12 has never missed any significant time during his career up until last season.

But sometimes all it takes is one injury during one season to change the entire course of a player's long-term health. As Howard gets older—as is the case with Bynum—this injury will be harder to heal and could quite possibly get worse without ever getting better.

Still, the Lakers made the safer bet in bringing D12 to Los Angeles in place of Bynum.

Howard's health history ensures that he has a better chance to remain healthier than Bynum moving forward, but his specific injury makes it perfectly clear that his future prospects of staying on the court on a regular basis are no more certain than that of Bynum's.