Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and center Dwight Howard embrace after defeating… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
The prospects of Dwight Howard's injured shoulder healing during the season may be far-fetched, and surgery could knock him out for a considerable period.
"Six months," Howard said. "I'd rather live with it than have six months out again. That'd be two summers in a row, so I don't want that."
Instead he hopes to play through the injury. As Howard describes it, the labrum in his right shoulder is intact but torn away from the bone.
"Will it heal?" Howard said. "I hope so."
Howard undergoes regular therapy, icing it after games. During games it may numb out from time to time if he is hit in the wrong spot.
At night he can't sleep on the shoulder.
Can it reattach to the bone on its own?
"Nah," said Howard. "Hopefully, it won't bother me. I'll just have to keep rehabbing it and all that stuff."
For a true repair, Howard needs surgery. Instead he hopes that the Lakers' training staff will help him manage the pain. With some rest over the off-season, inflammation may subside and Howard would carry on with an imperfect shoulder.
If not, he could be in danger of another procedure and a lengthy recovery.
Howard was happy after the Lakers' 105-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His teammates tried to get the ball early to Howard, who said recently, "For a lot of us bigs . . . give us some food, we're good. We don't eat, we're grumpy."
Although Howard got opportunities, the Thunder was quick to foul him. Howard made only two of 10 from the free-throw line. He also struggled with foul trouble, playing only 13 minutes in the second half.
Even with the injured shoulder, fouls and free throws, Howard's presence was enough as the Lakers took out one of the elite teams in the NBA.
Blake is ready
Reserve point guard Steve Blake said he's ready to play Tuesday night when the Lakers host the New Orleans Hornets.
Blake has been sidelined since Nov. 11 because of multiple injuries. He underwent surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle Dec. 5. More recently Blake had a platelet-rich plasma injection and cortisone short to heal a sore groin.
The Lakers have relied on guards Chris Duhon and Darius Morris in Blake's absence, with mixed results.