Dwight Howard reveals extent of his back injury

Tomorrow’s story today …

Dwight Howard knew something was wrong when he couldn’t feel his left leg. His back hurt him for most of last season, but when his leg went dead and he couldn’t perform a simple calf raise, he decided it was time to seek medical help.

“I had some issues early in the season and I just kept playing through it, some back spasms,” Howard said Thursday in his comments about the extent of his back injury since he was acquired by the Lakers from the Orlando Magic on Aug. 10.

“I really didn’t say anything. With all the stuff that was going on, I just didn’t want anybody thinking that I was trying to quit on my team or anything. Instead of sitting out, I just wanted to keep playing and how everybody I was still with the team.”

Keeping up appearances was important to Howard since everyone in Orlando and around the NBA assumed he would be gone by the time training camp rolled around. He finally underwent season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in April.

Howard was expected to be out for about five months, with the possibility that he wouldn’t be physically ready to start the regular season. He ended up having the surgery in Los Angeles, and simply stayed in town when the Lakers traded for him.

The 6-foot-11 center sat out the first two exhibitions and won’t play Saturday against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. The Lakers are in no hurry for him to make his debut in purple and gold.

“The biggest thing is conditioning,” Howard said. “So, that’s what we’ve been working on before practice and after practice. I’ve got to use my legs and work on my core … I’m not trying to build Rome today, I’m just trying to get a foundation going.”

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