According to Mark Medina, Dwight Howard has taken Lakers team trainers with him to Houston for the All-Star Weekend so he can work on his conditioning:
In theory, NBA All-Star weekend will give plenty of Lakers time to clear their minds and rest their dinged up bodies.
But not Dwight Howard, and the reasons go beyond his plan to participate in what will be his eighth All-Star appearance despite having a aggravated right shoulder and a surgically repaired back.
“Our team trainers are going to come and we’re going to get a lot of work in while I’m there,” Howard said. “I’m trying to get into better shape. That’s my main goal. All the stuff I’ll be doing, I’ll do just to make sure I get into better shape.”
Dwight recently told the Los Angeles Times that he now gets tired after playing for 10 minutes, whereas in Orlando he could play for 40 minutes and feel fine:
Howard emphasized that he’s not close to being himself after off-season back surgery.
“I’m nowhere near who I was in Orlando,” he said. “In Orlando, I could play 40 minutes and never get tired. Here I give you about 10 minutes.”
He certainly doesn’t look like the player who helped carry the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals. The Lakers need that Howard on the floor.
“I had to lie on my back for four or five months and then had four weeks to train before the season started,” he said. “That’s not normal. I’m used to training all summer and coming back in tip-top shape. It didn’t happen this year, so I’m looking forward to having a full summer and training camp.”
It’ll be interesting to see how much better Howard is next season after he’s had a full summer to get his conditioning back. Which jersey will he be wearing next year, though? We’ll have to wait and see about that one…