The Orlando Magic fell to the Boston Celtics last night without their star center Dwight Howard, and it appears that it might be a little while before they have him back in the lineup. According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Howard received an epidural in his back late last week and is working hard on rehabbing the injury.
Howard received an epidural last Friday after he sought a second opinion from Robert Watkins, a spine surgeon based in Marina del Rey, Calif. The injection was intended to help Howard manage the pain and begin rehabbing. Howard's camp is adamant that the All-NBA center wants to return for the postseason.
Despite his intentions to make it back onto the court, Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy sounds like he is preparing for the worst. According to the guys over at the Mothership, Van Gundy is not expecting Howard to be back in the lineup before the Playoffs start.
"No, I'd be surprised. Very surprised," said Van Gundy, prior to Orlando's game against Boston on Wednesday, when asked if he expected Howard back before the playoffs. "What we're saying right now, our approach is that this is our team, not only in the regular season, but in the playoffs. If we get him back, obviously it would be a huge bonus, but we're not expecting that at this point."
There aren't very many games left in the regular season, but the Magic are in the middle of a fight for the fifth seed with the Atlanta Hawks, and with it the right to play those very same Celtics in the first round. Without Howard in the lineup regularly it appears unlikely that they will be able to beat the Hawks out for that spot.