Dwight Howard certainly isn’t making his shoulder injury any better by playing, but the Los Angeles Lakers cannot afford to be missing key players as they fight for their playoff lives. Playing basketball with a torn labrum has to be painful, and Howard insists his opponents have been making it more uncomfortable by targeting his right shoulder and trying to make it worse.
After the Lakers loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday, Howard told Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports that the Heat were grabbing at his injured arm early in the game.
“They got me early,” he said. “They would yank it back.”
Howard said some of the Charlotte Bobcats players did the same thing on Friday.
“It’s like a jolt,” he explained. “Then it hurts the rest of the night.”
There’s no way of knowing if players are actually targeting Howard’s arm. If they are, he just informed them all that it is working and affecting his game. The video above shows Howard and Udonis Haslem fighting for position on L.A.’s first possession of the game on Sunday. If you’re looking for it, I guess you can see Haslem yanking at Howard’s arm in some capacity. However, the play looked like nothing more than a standard struggle in the post.
Later in the game, Mario Chalmers pulled down Howard’s right arm and fouled him as he was going to the hoop. While it was obvious Chalmers intentionally pulled the arm, it was the type of foul we see on a regular basis when a guard is trying to prevent a much bigger player from having an easy bucket.
Howard recently said that he is tired of hearing about the shoulder from his critics and even teammates. Complaining that opponents are targeting the injury is only going to make people discuss it more. Dwight is obviously in a lot of pain and his play is suffering as a result, but the less he talks about it the better off he will be.Google+