OKLAHOMA CITY — AS he nurses the ongoing pain in the torn labrum in his right shoulder, Dwight Howard doesn’t just have to worry about bruising opponents giving him an extra whack.
The Lakers center apparently now has to make sure teammates don’t run into him.
Howard said he felt increased discomfort in his shoulder early in the first quarter of the Lakers’ eventual 122-105 loss Tuesday to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena because Metta World Peace apparently doesn’t have a sense of direction.
“Metta was trying to run through [on a fast break] and I was trying to run back,” Howard recalled. “As I turned around, his momentum pulled my arm back. It’s been bugging me since. I played through it as much as I can and tried not to worry about it.”
“That sucks,” World Peace said with a concerned expression. “Is he okay?”
Howard weathered the pain and remained in the game. But that injury played a large part in finishing with only seven points on 1-of-7 shooting, including zero attempts in the second half.
Did the lack of attempts bother him?
“Yeah,” Howard said. “But we got to play through it.”
Easier said than done.
But it could’ve been worse had Howard not been wearing a protective undershirt that improves his posture and back alignment.
“It helped, but it’s still bugging me,” Howard said. “If I didn’t have it on, I probably would have hurt it a little bit worse. I think it did its job.”
Meanwhile, Howard vows he will continue to do his no matter how difficult that task will become.
“Just continue to play the way we’ve been playing,” Howard said. “Tonight was a tough night for us. But we have to look at the big picture in what we’re trying to accomplish. We can’t let this game take our spirits. We have to play through it.”
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