Okay, fine, probably it’s not a buttectomy. But it’s at least a buttotomy or a buttopsy. The butt pain that has kept Dwight Howard out of all but nine Wizards game this season will reportedly require surgery:
Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard probably will need a surgical procedure to provide relief from a gluteal injury that has frequently sidelined him this season, league sources told ESPN.
Howard received a recommendation from a nerve specialist in Los Angeles on Thursday and might seek further consultation before making a final decision on a surgery that would cause him to miss a significant portion of the regular season.
Chris Haynes reported Friday morning that a final decision has been made, and Howard will have surgery, with a typical recovery time of two to three months. Steve Buckhantz and Kara Lawson mentioned during Washington’s loss Wednesday night to the Pelicans that Howard’s gluteal discomfort is such that he’s had to remain standing during Wizards team flights.
Incidentally, this was the only mention of Howard in the two Wizards games since Masin Elijé accused Howard of harassment and abusive behavior, and an extended injury-related absence probably gets the team and its broadcasters off the hook for ever having to publicly address the issue. That of course doesn’t mean that Dwight’s pain isn’t real—he’s been dealing with it since all the way back in the summer, when it was being referred to as “back soreness” and it kept him out of the entirety of Wizards training camp and preseason.
The jury is still out on whether this latest injury update is bad news, exactly, for Washington. The 8–13 Wizards are 4–4 this season in games in which Dwight played at least eight minutes, but those four wins came over teams with a combined 28–57 record, and Dwight has only finished with a positive plus-minus in one (1) game this season—Washington’s 13-point home win over the dreaded Knicks back on November 4. In his current condition, Dwight solves none of the Wizards’ persistent problems with three-point shooting, aimless and incoherent defensive rotations, half-assed switching, and indifferent transition defense. The theory, at least, is that he makes them a better rebounding team and provides a pick-and-roll screener who can create a little vertical spacing, but the former is irrelevant to Washington’s small-ball lineups, which they feature heavily now that Ian Mahinmi has been mothballed for uselessness, and the latter ignores the fact that Dwight almost literally cannot jump anymore. He had one throwback boxscore for the Wizards—a 25-point, 17-rebound effort in 27 minutes against the Nets—but finished that game minus-11, which incidentally was the game’s final margin.
This is another dismal blight on the record of general manager Ernie Grunfeld, who inexplicably gave a washed-up Howard an optional second year in Washington worth $5.6 million, which was dumb the moment it was offered and has gotten exponentially dumber in the months since. Howard’s starting role and minutes are currently going to young Thomas Bryant. To replace his leadership, the Wizards will install Carrot Top* as team captain.
*Don’t put it past them.