Dwight Howard Undergoes Surgery to Repair Gluteal Injury

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 14: Dwight Howard #21 of the Washington Wizards reacts after a play against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Capital One Arena on November 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. 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 Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard has undergone surgery to address the persistent gluteal injury he has had this year, the team announced Friday:

"Howard underwent an L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy earlier today. The procedure went as planned with no complications.

"The procedure was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Marina Del Rey, California, and was recommended after consultation with Dr. Watkins and Wizards Director of Medical Services and Orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih determined that the disc herniation was causing severe nerve irritation and gluteal pain.

"Howard's progress will be re-evaluated in approximately two to three months."

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes first reported Friday that Howard would undergo the procedure.

Howard has proved durable throughout his career, appearing in fewer than 71 games only once (in non-lockout-shortened seasons) during his first 14 years in the league. That includes his 81 games with the Charlotte Hornets last season.

However, injury has plagued the 32-year-old's first go-around in the nation's capital.

The eight-time All-Star missed the start of the 2018-19 season, and just nine games into his return to the court, he once again found himself sidelined by a piriformis injury in his buttocks.

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Previously, Howard's only major injuries had been of the shoulder (2012-13) and knee (2014-15) varieties.

When Howard has been on the court, he has been productive. He is averaging 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game. Those may be a long way from his career averages (17.4 points and 12.6 rebounds), but they are still respectable totals.

Just last season, the 2004 No. 1 overall pick reminded the basketball world of what he's capable of with a 30-30 game:

That potential makes the veteran big man a key part of Washington's rotation—when he's healthy.

Howard's injury means Washington will have to rely on Ian Mahinmi and Thomas Bryant down low. But as long as John Wall and Bradley Beal are playing, the Wizards will have a chance to be competitive.