Dwight Howard has plenty on his mind beyond his pending free agency.
He also plans to see a doctor Wednesday to check up on the torn labrum in his right shoulder.
“Hopefully I don’t have to have surgery,” Howard said. “But whatever the case may be, I’m going to do whatever I can to get myself right this offseason.”
Howard didn’t have such a luxury last year. He remained sidelined last summer after having back surgery in April. Howard eventually returned in mid October. But he looked visibly limited this season. Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, his lowest marks since the 2006-07 season.
“My back was pretty much in pain the whole year,” Howard said. “I came back 5-6 months earlier than I was supposed to and I did that for this team, I did that for this city because I wanted to win so bad. I pushed myself. Physically was I ready to come back? No. But mentally I felt I could do anything and that’s what I tried to do every night.”
That’s why Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak believed plenty of the criticism surrounding Howard remained mostly unfair.
“I’m not going to sit here and say he’s not to blame for any of it,” Kupchak said regarding his play. “I don’t think for a second he wasn’t given enough credit for what he went through this past year. He could’ve taken the season off. I didn’t think we’d see him until January or February. When we saw him in the first day of training camp, I was shocked.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at email@example.com